Poet at Work: Recovered Notebooks from the Thomas Biggs Harned Walt Whitman Collection
Historical Analysis and Interpretation
History, especially the history of culture, is often powerfully illustrated in literature. Whitman's work provides the means for a lesson in analyzing and interpreting literary symbolism. Look at Whitman's journals or other writings and discuss the breadth of Whitman's interests to provide a background. Then, have students generate as many meanings as possible for Whitman's use of grass as a symbol on pages 24-25, and 83 of Notebook #80 and in the title and body of his life's work. Consider what Whitman's use of this symbol might indicate about the culture in which he lived and for which he wrote.