I Sing The Body Electric Rhetorical Devices

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In section six of “I Sing the Body Electric,” Whitman uses formal aspects and conceptual motifs to demonstrate the role of the poet as an equalizer. Since the poem is written in free verse, Whitman creates a sense of rhythm and balance with the use of repetition and parallelism. He then uses the leveling of hierarchies, the erasing of binary distinctions, and the idea of the otherness and universe to solidify his democratic thoughts. Walt Whitman believed that, despite sex or race, “… the human body is sacred…” (line 113). The use of repetition and parallelism in this poem allows the reader to place emphasis on certain lines. Parallelism is use of apparatuses in a sentence that are the same or related in their sound, meter, or connotation.…show more content…
Men were seen as superior to women and African-American’s were inferior to whites. It was believed that these separate groups could not coexist on the same level and thus, women and African-American’s were oppressed by the superior white males. In this poem, Whitman blurs the lines between these binary distinctions. He writes “The man’s body is sacred and the woman’s body is sacred… it is no matter who, Is it a slave?... Each belongs here… just as much as you” (lines 74-75). Here, Whitman equalizes all. These democratic beliefs that Whitman states demonstrate that no sex or race is more important than the other and that we are all part of one universe. The word “each” is echoed again in next line saying “Each has his or her place in the procession” (line 76). “Each” is commonly used as a term to identify something or someone out of a group. This word choice then solidifies Whitman’s stance on otherness. He believes that otherness should be replaced with equality because no one has more of a right to be here than their counterparts. Whitman believes in the idea that there is a little bit of all of us in each other and that we are all made from the “same red running blood” (line

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