Just another Looking for Whitman weblog
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Posted on September 15th, 2009 at 8:27 pm by ginam


Whitman uses the term hieroglyphic once in “Song of Myself” in a section where he is examining the blade of grass. The Merriam Webster Dictionary presents two distinct definitions for the term: “Of, relating to, or being a system of writing, such as that of ancient Egypt, in which pictorial symbols are used to represent meaning or sounds or a combination of meaning and sound” and “Difficult to read or decipher.” Both definitions seem to indicate the grass is symbolic to Whitman, yet he is unable to overcome the mystery surrounding the grass and the ultimate definition remains illusive.

Whitman, Walt. Leaves of Grass. New York, NY: Barnes and Noble, Inc., 1993. JWAL: JWAL Blog Website, 2009.

Comments so far:

Link Here | September 15, 2009,

Hm..that’s actually a really cool perspective in how you understood the use of the term, hieroglyphic…that he is unable to over the mystery and all the question marks within the song..awesome!

Comment by jenny and walt |

Link Here | September 16, 2009,

I’ve had so much trouble with this blog, I didn’t know it was appearing on the site…YEAH! Sometimes I feel like Whitman saw the whole world as a hieroglyphic :)

Comment by ginam |

Link Here | September 16, 2009,

Congratulations on posting your first blog and for pointing out the importance of the hieroglyph in Whitman’s writing. The reference demonstrates a general interest in the religion and culture of the east–a topic for futher exploration perhaps. Also, Dr. Gabor Toth, of the RU-C Math Dept., teaches a course in Eyptian Hieroglyphics. You can contact him if you wish to pursue.

Comment by Carol Singley |

Link Here | September 17, 2009,

I love this picture you chose!

Comment by jillians |

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