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Comment 13 of 23, added on October 29th, 2008 at 6:23 AM.
When my best friend died in a car wreck, his mother asked me to choose a
poem to be read at his funeral. Knowing he was a fan of Whitman, I looked
through The Leaves of Grass for one I thought was appropriate, and I chose
this one. To me, this poem speaks of how we meet people, they change us
and we change them, and then we move on. We're all just passing strangers,
taking of each other, and eventually we do not speak of them, but think of
them in quiet moments. At least that's what it meant to me at that time.
John from United States
Comment 12 of 23, added on December 13th, 2007 at 2:46 PM.
In Walt Whitman’s “The Leaves of Grass” there is cluster of a series of 45
poems called Calamus, which work to celebrate and promote a theme of love.
Out of that cluster, in “To a Stranger” by Walt Whitman, Whitman expresses
a general sense of longing directed at the world in general. And Whitman’s
nostalgic for past relationships and his conscious of having his feelings
of affection reciprocated by everyone he walks past allows him to know that
ultimately he will find love. In “To A Stranger”, Whitman not only alludes
to the love between a man and a woman but to the beautiful and sane
affection between a man and a man. Through the motif of genders, sexual
innuendos, the repetition of “I am” and the overall sense of secrecy
throughout the poem, reveals Whitman’s inner conflicts with his sexuality
and his yearning to want to tell and express his sexuality openly without
restrictions imposed by society.
Lou from United States
Comment 11 of 23, added on August 24th, 2007 at 11:05 AM.
I think he's talking to the world, to everybody.
Whitman usually talks about this kind of theme, the man as a center of the
Comment 10 of 23, added on April 19th, 2007 at 5:02 PM.
this poem is about loss i think because it says "i am not to speak to you,
i am to think of you when i sit alone or wake at night alone" so he's
talking about never forgetting the people you loved that you lose. they'll
always live on in your memories, that kind of thing.
Kate from United States
Comment 9 of 23, added on March 19th, 2006 at 10:30 PM.
seeing as Walt was homosexual, i'm thinking that he is seeing some
attractive guy (since he mentions seeing an unknown "he"), but he must hide
that attraction due to society's thoughts on homosexuality during the time
period. but hey, i could be wrong.
from United States
Comment 8 of 23, added on February 9th, 2006 at 6:21 PM.
This is poem is exactly how i feel when i see a hottie walking by me. It's
as if you fell inlove with that person by his eyes, his movement, his
cologne but like in the last stanza says," I am not to speak to you, I am
to think of you."
Dlia from United States
Comment 7 of 23, added on January 28th, 2006 at 2:13 PM.
I too don't think he's talking to the reader. When he says stranger, he
means himself. The YOU inside you is a stranger to you, not everyone has to
confront him or her at one time. And I think he has "found himself", and
believe me once you found that, you don't want to lose it!
Comment 6 of 23, added on September 22nd, 2005 at 11:47 AM.
I dont feel that he's trying to talk to the reader I think he's trying to
tell his audiance about an inner conflict he battles with. I think that he
wants the reader to know that he has a secret that he is embarrassed of but
yet never wants it to leave his mind.
from United States
Comment 5 of 23, added on August 6th, 2005 at 10:19 PM.
He indentifies you and talks to you. You have
to confront him as a poet who wants to have a personal relationship. Soon
you realize that back in the mid 19th century, he had thought of YOU
and had waited until you picked up his book and started a relationship
him. It gets a bit eerie.
kevin from United States
Comment 4 of 23, added on May 25th, 2005 at 1:04 PM.
I really enjoyed this poem!!! but I want annotations on it!
walt whitman.. fantastic writer.
dani from United States
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