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Whoever You Are, Holding Me Now In Hand Analysis

Author: Poetry of Walt Whitman Type: Poetry Views: 814

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WHOEVER you are, holding me now in hand,

Without one thing, all will be useless,

I give you fair warning, before you attempt me further,

I am not what you supposed, but far different.

Who is he that would become my follower?

Who would sign himself a candidate for my affections?

The way is suspicious--the result uncertain, perhaps destructive;

You would have to give up all else--I alone would expect to be your

God, sole and exclusive,

Your novitiate would even then be long and exhausting,

The whole past theory of your life, and all conformity to the lives

around you, would have to be abandon'd;10

Therefore release me now, before troubling yourself any further--Let

go your hand from my shoulders,

Put me down, and depart on your way.

Or else, by stealth, in some wood, for trial,

Or back of a rock, in the open air,

(For in any roof'd room of a house I emerge not--nor in company,

And in libraries I lie as one dumb, a gawk, or unborn, or dead,)

But just possibly with you on a high hill--first watching lest any

person, for miles around, approach unawares,

Or possibly with you sailing at sea, or on the beach of the sea, or

some quiet island,

Here to put your lips upon mine I permit you,

With the comrade's long-dwelling kiss, or the new husband's kiss,20

For I am the new husband, and I am the comrade.

Or, if you will, thrusting me beneath your clothing,

Where I may feel the throbs of your heart, or rest upon your hip,

Carry me when you go forth over land or sea;

For thus, merely touching you, is enough--is best,

And thus, touching you, would I silently sleep and be carried


But these leaves conning, you con at peril,

For these leaves, and me, you will not understand,

They will elude you at first, and still more afterward--I will

certainly elude you,

Even while you should think you had unquestionably caught me,


Already you see I have escaped from you.

For it is not for what I have put into it that I have written this


Nor is it by reading it you will acquire it,

Nor do those know me best who admire me, and vauntingly praise me,

Nor will the candidates for my love, (unless at most a very few,)

prove victorious,

Nor will my poems do good only--they will do just as much evil,

perhaps more;

For all is useless without that which you may guess at many times and

not hit--that which I hinted at;

Therefore release me, and depart on your way.


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||| Analysis | Critique | Overview Below |||

.: :.

I agree i believe that it is a story about a male lover and being queer. However it duals as a enlightenment narrative so to speak.

| Posted on 2016-12-10 | by a guest

.: :.

he says passion is fun. but he will not give love a try. . he already gave up too soon. ah.sighs.

| Posted on 2013-01-02 | by a guest

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In my opinion most of the analysis made above are forgetting about key lines, which give the poem a whole other sense, not about love, or self-esteem.. for example
\"For in any roof\'d room of a house I emerge not—
nor in company,
And in libraries I lie as one dumb, a gawk, or
unborn, or dead,)
But just possibly with you on a high hill—
first watching lest any person, for miles around,
approach unawares,
Or possibly with you sailing at sea, or on the beach
of the sea, or some quiet island,
Here to put your lips upon mine I permit you,\"
this made me think the voice of the poem is an idea rather than a person. and that idea is quite elusive, but holds enlightments as someone stated above. Maybe even not enlightment, although it is very related, but something more common and widely pursued, the meaning of life. It escapes intentional grasp, and the intentional search for it can be destructive, frustrating because of its ever conning, eluding nature.

| Posted on 2012-03-05 | by a guest

.: :.

Here, Whitman emphatically and almost explicitly points to a troubled part of himself. And given that for the most part the lines masterfully express the vicissitudes of all shades of a love relationship in abstractions, indeed the concrete part is remotely metaphoric or cryptic about the carnal part of love. Not being a Whitman specialist, I can only suggest that his eagerness to warn a potential lover refers to love\'s central necessity, that is: sexual capacity or preference. needless to say that the self-esteem conflict goes hand in hand with this.

| Posted on 2012-03-03 | by a guest

.: :.

you definitely love chanel outlet to your friends chanel outlet to take huge discount

| Posted on 2012-02-03 | by a guest

.: :.

It is simply about the struggle with becoming enlightened.

| Posted on 2012-01-25 | by a guest

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I believe but I can certainly be wrong...that Whitman is trying to say to love him is a challenge. He is more complex then the person you see on the outside, and if you want his love you must be willing to devote your entire being to him. He says he wants to be kissed like a new husband. He needs passion and fire, few things that have been brought to the table previously.

| Posted on 2011-04-06 | by a guest

.: :.

General Idea: Walt Whitman is in love
Problem: he\'s doesn\'t deem himself worthy of her love, he thinks lowly of himself and therefore couldn\'t bear the thought of her being with him.
Solution: Stay with him and make her life all about him, or go away and make the most of her life.

| Posted on 2010-08-24 | by a guest

.: :.

This poem deals with homosexuality, the imagery is homeorotic. He is personifying a book, "canidate for affection" isn't about self-esteem, rather the social ramifications of engading in queer sex.

| Posted on 2009-10-29 | by a guest

.: from alex :.

Walt Whitman’s “Whoever you are holding me now in hand” displays themes dealing with many aspects of human life; friendship, love, self-esteem, and risk taking. Whitman reveals himself in this poem he talks about himself as someone difficult to love or even like possibly by saying such things as, “Therefore release me now before troubling yourself any further,”(line 13). Whitman is describing himself as troublesome to deal with and is advising everyone who reads his poem not to even bother with him. This quote and others like, “I give you fair warning before you attempt me further,”(line3) and “For all is useless..”(line 45) give the impression that Walt Whitman thinks poorly of himself and has low self-esteem since he is saying that interaction with him is worthless. Whitman talks about extreme loyalty from anyone “who would sign himself a candidate for my affections?”(line 6). In the stanza after this quote he describes how much work anyone who would want to be in his affections would have to do. Whitman says that they would have to have him as their “sole and exclusive standard.” (Line 9). Also he says that everyone who would follow him would have to give up all the conforming to society they have done. Furthermore, they would have to base their life upon completely new principles. Whitman seems to become softer in his speech as he describes the possibility of someone becoming his lover. With such phrases as line 24, “..put your lips upon mine I permit you.” and lines 30-31 “..merely touching you is enough, is best, /And thus touching you would I silently sleep and be carried eternally.” Walt gives the poem a romantic touch. From these feelings he shows it would seem that Whitman wants someone to see past the self-esteem issues and warnings he issues of himself and just love him. It can possibly be assumed that Whitman is trying to act like he is tough and put out a hard exterior when inside he is very vulnerable. Finally, Whitman tries to identify himself as a risk to be taken. He says in reference to having a relationship with him that, “The way is suspicious, the result uncertain, perhaps destructive,” (line 7). It appears that Whitman skips straight to the ending of taking the risk of associating with him with line 37, “Already you see I have escaped from you.” and lines 34 and 35 “..I will/certainly elude you.”

| Posted on 2004-12-04 | by Approved Guest

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