Library of Congress


The Library of Congress > Teachers > Classroom Materials > Collection Connections > Poet at Work
Walt Whitman, half-length portrait, seated, facing left, wearing hat and sweater, holding butterfly

[Detail] Walt Whitman holding butterfly


Whitman's journals provide the occasion for a lesson on mood. Have students read pages 2, 4, 6, and 8 of Notebook #101 and ask for a volunteer to read the passage aloud. In discussion, onsider what techniques Whitman employs to create a powerful mood. How does the passage make one feel? What images does it conjure? What sounds and rhythms were heard? Ask students to browse the notebooks for other passages that express mood powerfully and have them explain how they do so. Or, students can practice creating mood in their own prose or poetry.