Comment 5 of 15, added on November 16th, 2005 at 1:07 PM.
David Grimes, you really shouldn't comment on things about which you have
little understanding, especially in such an insulting way. I can't help but
wonder why on earth when someone suggested it regarded gay love you assumed
that they meant it was inherently sexual. Gay relationships can be loving
and are not just about sex, despite what your assumptions about them are.
The majority of scholars studying Whitman are generally agreed that he did
have homosexual tendencies, despite having to hide them from a deeply
homophobic society. They draw their conclusions through scrutiny of his
works, looking closely at the Calamus poems and his opinions on 'amative'
(heterosexual) love and 'adhesive' (homosexual love).
His work contradicts his outward expressions regarding homosexuality. In
public he denounced it, but through his poetry he revealed and admiration
for the ideals of male friendship and even went as far as to describe acts
The beloved character in his poem 'Once I Pass'd Through A Populous City'
is known to have been changed from a male to a female prior to
During the 1970's Whitman was made the poster child of the gay liberation
movement for his bravery on the subject through his art and his love of the
working class man. It isn't disputed whether or not he was romantically
attracted to other men, though it is unknown whether he acted upon those
feelings in a sexual manner.
Given the fact that close friendships between comrades during the civil war
in virginia sometimes did reach a romantic level one can safely assume that
this poem does touch upon the theme of gay sentiments.
Think before you comment next time you insulting, arrogant boy.
Joey from United Kingdom
Comment 4 of 15, added on August 31st, 2005 at 1:38 PM.
Now that's just NASTY!
Heather from United States
Comment 3 of 15, added on July 5th, 2005 at 2:00 PM.
Maybe, maybe not. The thing is, even if Whitman was gay, this poem in
particular is not about homosexuality or it would be titled "We Two Boys
Let's forget all that we know about behavior for a moment. Let's forget
that putting your hands backwards on your hips or swishing when you walk is
supposed to be effeminate. And remember that WE define (on a daily basis)
what words, postures, pronunciations, manners are "normal," "gay,"
"serious," "rude," et cetera In the Middle East, men hold hands and kiss
each other and it is not in a sexual context. One hundred years ago, women
would wear garments that constricted their breathing and caused health
problems, because those were the social norms. Imagine what we will be
doing a hundred years from now. Will we look back on our contemporary
writing and just assume that everyone was gay?
Hey, sometimes a spade is a spade. Sometimes we read a passage and think,
"hey, is this veiled language? Is the writer talking about... THAT?" And
sometimes he is. But Whitman's writing makes you think that a LOT. Look
at "Ashes of Soldiers," (which by our standards sounds a whole lot like a
passionate love letter to beautiful dead soldiers) or "Pensive on Her
Dead..." where he talks about the dead "young men's beautiful bodies." I
don't think he's being sexually attracted here, but rather he is using
exquisite language; words that, yes, in our day and age raise some eyebrows
and set off some gay-dars.
But do not judge behavior or writing based on your own values or point of
view. Though it is often right, it will often be wrong, and it will ALWAYS
certainly betray an ignorance of the observed behavior or writing.
from United States
Comment 2 of 15, added on April 12th, 2005 at 10:49 PM.
I do not know much biographical data about Walt Whitman, but I think that
to assume that this poem is about homosexuality might be a mistake. Just
as David and Jonathan of Bible fame loved one another and were lifelong
platonic friends, so Whitman may have been writing about such a friendship.
In modern times, no one would write this way about a male friendship.
Homosexuality would be assumed. But, in the 19th century, such assumptions
wouldn't have been made by the reader.
Cyndy Morgan from United States
Comment 1 of 15, added on March 10th, 2005 at 6:21 PM.
This poem has a double meaning. First and obvious is that the poem is
describing two gay boys, as well as two boys that are close friends during
the time of the Civil War. The first meaning was very bold for that time
cosidering that homosexuality was shunned upon. Intersting!
from United States
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