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When I Read The Book Analysis

Author: Poetry of Walt Whitman Type: Poetry Views: 412

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WHEN I read the book, the biography famous,

And is this, then, (said I,) what the author calls a man's life?

And so will some one, when I am dead and gone, write my life?

(As if any man really knew aught of my life;

Why, even I myself, I often think, know little or nothing of my real


Only a few hints--a few diffused, faint clues and indirections,

I seek, for my own use, to trace out here.)


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

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The speaker perplexed with the idea of writing one’s biography. In addition, he questioned easiness to write one’s biography when the person himself/herself could not trace what life is meant to him/her and what goal of the life is. The speaker tried to relate the idea of biography with his life and ended up in despair of the failure to find any definite meaning.

| Posted on 2016-11-10 | by a guest

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I think Whitman is writing about the mystery that every person is to every other person. I pick up a hint of disdain when he describes a biographer attempting to create a complete picture of a person's life. Whitman drives his point home even further when he says, "Why, even I myself, I often think, know little or nothing of my real life". He puts the question before us: how can anyone TRULY understand another person completely when each individual person hardly understands themselves?
A human mind is an incredibly complicated thing, beyond the understanding of the person themselves. People die, and others simplify the entirety of the deceased person's being into one little book.
I think Whitman is expressing his amazement (and perhaps disappointment) that as a person grows more distant (in death) and beyond comprehension, people gain even more faith in their ability to truly "get" that person (through reading superficial, condensed biographies).

| Posted on 2015-09-13 | by a guest

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Here the poet praises the thinking power of the author who writes about other\'s life.How a person can know a person so well that he writes about him so softly and respectably that the person remains in common people\'s heart?
He said that how a stranger can know a person so well?
(its my thought and I am not a well educated to explain it correctly)

| Posted on 2010-09-08 | by a guest

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