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Comment 15 of 35, added on December 2nd, 2009 at 3:40 AM.
Pioneers! O Pioneers!
This poem is not about white male supremacy or intergenerational struggle.
It's about Manifest Destiny, the great Westward expansion of the
mid-to-late 1800s. When Whitman writes about youth, he refers to the young
nation, the United States. Elders refer to the countries that the new
Americans emigrated from. You have to remember that this poem was written
150 years ago, and to look at it with 21st Century attitudes and values
will completely change its meaning from what the author intended.
Catherine from United States
Comment 14 of 35, added on November 15th, 2009 at 3:42 AM.
I think "Pioneers! O Pioneers!" is about how the soul of America is the
regular people, not the fat cats, and that Americans are tough and never
give up, marching on to uphold their morals and liberties. It's like a
rallying cry to remind the people of that. We carry on the work of our
ancestors, carry on the work that those who become weary can no longer
bear. It's a shame that we have become so complacent, it usually takes
something catastrophic to shake us back into the strong America we started
out as and make us appreciate our liberties more.
Julie from United States
Comment 13 of 35, added on November 12th, 2009 at 9:56 PM.
I feel that it promotes white male supremacy and it's need to conquer, it's
hunger for more and more dragging in the "minstrels in their prairies" and
mothers/women as if there must be a fight led against our fellow men -
L.J. Smith from United States
Comment 12 of 35, added on November 10th, 2009 at 10:03 AM.
I think this poem is about the youth of America and how they are trying to
figure out ways in life. You know how they say that teens and children are
the future of America? Same thing with pioneers. They discover new things
that some people never even thought of. In other words, Walt Whitman is
saying that today's young people, teens, and children are the pioneers of
tomorrow. He actually points them out in one stanza:
"So impatient, full of action, full of manly pride and friendship"
from United States
Comment 11 of 35, added on November 6th, 2009 at 8:16 PM.
doesn't anyone think this poem has to do with youth finding their way in
the world? youth against the old? maybe i'm misled, but i think it's one
of the many hidden meanings
Sara from United States
Comment 10 of 35, added on November 2nd, 2009 at 2:42 AM.
Don't overlook his reference to the elder races. By this he meant the old,
moribund worlds of Europe as opposed to the young, strong, forward-thinking
energies of the US. Would he still consider us as pioneers? How would he
react to the modern conservation movement. "We the primeval forest felling,
..rivers stemming...piercing deep the mines within...the virgin soil
upheaving..." See also his lament in "Facing West From California's
Terry from United States
Comment 9 of 35, added on October 27th, 2009 at 12:48 AM.
I found it very interesting that after moving their last manufacturing
facility out of the US, the company Levi's has now started a TV commercial
quoting this poem (without acknowledgment to Walt Whitman of course). At
least it made me go learn about Mr. Whitman so it's not all bad.
Jim from United States
Comment 8 of 35, added on October 26th, 2009 at 3:06 AM.
Sorry, Bentley, it is you that is mistaken. It is true that Jean Rhys DID
write the similarly titled short story "Pioneers, Oh Pioneers" that was
included in her 1976 book of short stories titled "Sleep It Off, Lady".
However, the poem shown here was in fact, "Pioneers! O Pioneers!" and was
written by Walt Whitman. "Pioneers! O Pioneers!" was one of Whitman's most
celebrated poems and was included in his book, "Leaves of Grass", which was
first published in 1855.
Montie from United States
Comment 7 of 35, added on October 26th, 2009 at 12:19 AM.
This is not by Walt Whitman. It is by Jean Rhys.
Bentley from United States
Comment 6 of 35, added on October 19th, 2009 at 6:11 PM.
our forefathers have fought for nothing. we are a stagnant people learned
follow. the sons of liberty would be turning in their graves at the site of
our nations' people. tsk tsk
Josh T from United States
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