A Look into Walt Whitman’s Transcendental Vision in “The Sleepers” in Leaves of Grass (1855)

Baker Banikhair, Haitham M. Talafha, Motasim O. Almwajeh, Khaled Alnajjar


This paper aims at foregrounding the reciprocity and (meta)physical unity between the self and humanity in Walt Whitman’s “The Sleepers,” which shapes up Whitman’s ontological and spiritual experience of humanity. Importantly, Whitman’s views about what humanity should look like and the way it must be conceptualized are premised upon his microcosmic self that can transcend all (im)material boundaries to a cosmological level. This transcendental process brings nature and culture together and harmonizes them within one unified system where biological, racial, ethnic, and ideological differences cease to exist. The new world prophesized and heavily stressed by Whitman in “The Sleepers” becomes thus free of antagonism, cruelty, and prejudice. Notably, what makes Whitman’s prophetic vision possible in the poem is the way this vision is filtered through the symmetrical relationship between the body and soul and the way this relationship echoes the perfection of the universe and the complementary aspect of its natural cycle.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5430/wjel.v12n1p344

World Journal of English Language
ISSN 1925-0703(Print)  ISSN 1925-0711(Online)

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