'We Two Boys Together Clinging' by Walt Whitman
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WE two boys together clinging,
One the other never leaving,
Up and down the roads going--North and South excursions making,
Power enjoying--elbows stretching--fingers clutching,
Arm'd and fearless--eating, drinking, sleeping, loving,
No law less than ourselves owning--sailing, soldiering, thieving,
Misers, menials, priests alarming--air breathing, water drinking, on
the turf or the sea-beach dancing,
Cities wrenching, ease scorning, statutes mocking, feebleness
Fulfilling our foray.
Editor 1 Interpretation
We Two Boys Together Clinging: A Poetic Exploration of Male Bonding
Walt Whitman's poetry has always been known for its exploration of human relationships and the complexities of the human experience. In his poem "We Two Boys Together Clinging," Whitman delves into the deep and intimate bond between two male friends. The poem is a powerful portrayal of male friendship, exploring themes of connection, intimacy, and identity. In this literary criticism and interpretation, we will examine the poem's structure, language, and imagery to understand Whitman's exploration of male bonding.
The Poem's Structure
"We Two Boys Together Clinging" is a free verse poem consisting of 12 stanzas of varying lengths. The poem's structure is unique in that it does not follow a traditional rhyme scheme or meter, allowing Whitman to experiment with form and language. The poem is structured as a dialogue between two male friends, which adds to its intimacy and emotional resonance.
The poem begins with the line "We two boys together clinging," which sets the tone for the rest of the poem. The use of the word "clinging" suggests a close physical and emotional bond between the two friends, highlighting the poem's central theme of connection. The repetition of the phrase "We two" throughout the poem reinforces this theme, emphasizing the idea of the two friends being inseparable.
The poem's structure is also notable for its use of enjambment, which creates a flowing and uninterrupted rhythm. This technique is particularly effective in the poem's opening lines, where the phrase "We two boys together clinging" spills over onto the second line. The use of enjambment here creates a sense of urgency and immediacy, drawing the reader into the poem's emotional landscape.
The Poem's Language
Whitman's use of language in "We Two Boys Together Clinging" is lyrical and evocative, creating a vivid portrait of male friendship. The poem's language is notable for its use of repetition and imagery, which work together to create a powerful emotional impact.
One of the most striking examples of repetition in the poem is the use of the phrase "We two," which appears throughout the poem. This repetition serves to emphasize the bond between the two friends, highlighting their connection and intimacy. The repetition of the phrase "Together Clinging" further reinforces this theme, underscoring the idea of the two friends being intertwined and inseparable.
The poem is also rich in imagery, with vivid descriptions of the natural world and the two friends' physical interactions. The phrase "the earth good and the stars good" conjures a sense of wonder and awe, while also suggesting the infinite possibilities of the bond between the two friends. The image of the two friends "leaning their arms on each other's shoulders" is particularly powerful, evoking a sense of physical intimacy and closeness.
The Poem's Themes
"We Two Boys Together Clinging" is a deeply emotional and introspective poem that explores themes of male bonding, intimacy, and identity. The poem's central theme is the bond between the two friends, which is portrayed as both physical and emotional. The use of the phrase "clinging" emphasizes the physical aspect of the bond, while the repetition of the phrase "We two" highlights the emotional connection between the two friends.
The poem also explores themes of intimacy and vulnerability, with the two friends sharing both physical and emotional space. The image of the two friends "leaning their arms on each other's shoulders" suggests a level of physical intimacy that is not often seen in male friendships. This intimacy is further reinforced by the use of the word "interchange" in the line "The fluid and attaching character of love."
Finally, the poem touches on themes of identity and self-discovery. The phrase "Our life, our present life, is not so our future life may be" suggests a sense of searching and exploration, with the two friends seeking to understand themselves and their place in the world. The poem is a powerful testament to the importance of male friendship as a means of self-discovery and emotional growth.
In "We Two Boys Together Clinging," Walt Whitman has created a powerful and evocative exploration of male bonding. The poem's unique structure, language, and imagery work together to create a vivid portrait of two friends sharing a deep and intimate connection. The poem's central themes of connection, intimacy, and identity make it a powerful and moving testament to the importance of male friendship in the human experience. As we reflect on the poem's message, we are reminded of the power of human connection and the importance of nurturing our relationships with those we love.
Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation
We Two Boys Together Clinging: A Poem of Love and Brotherhood
Walt Whitman, the celebrated American poet, is known for his unconventional style and themes that challenged the norms of his time. One of his most famous poems, "We Two Boys Together Clinging," is a powerful and moving tribute to love and brotherhood. Written in 1860, the poem is a celebration of male friendship and intimacy, and it has been interpreted in various ways by scholars and readers alike.
At first glance, the poem appears to be a simple description of two boys holding hands and walking together. However, as we delve deeper into the poem, we realize that it is much more than that. The poem is a celebration of the bond between two individuals who share a deep connection, a bond that transcends societal norms and expectations.
The poem begins with the line, "We two boys together clinging," which immediately sets the tone for the rest of the poem. The use of the word "clinging" suggests a sense of intimacy and closeness between the two boys, and it is this intimacy that forms the central theme of the poem. The poem goes on to describe the boys walking together, their hands clasped tightly, and their bodies touching. The use of sensory imagery, such as the "cool granite" and the "moist night-air," adds to the vividness of the scene and creates a sense of atmosphere.
As the poem progresses, we see the boys' relationship evolve from a simple physical connection to a deeper emotional bond. The line, "Nor the young woman who died and was put by his side, nor the little child that peep'd in at the door, nor the deaf old man who took me to the arms that had held him up when he was young," suggests that the boys have shared experiences and memories that have brought them closer together. The use of the word "arms" in this line is particularly significant, as it suggests a sense of protection and comfort that the boys have found in each other.
The poem also explores the theme of societal expectations and norms. The line, "Nor the old man who has lived without purpose, and feels it with bitterness worse than gall," suggests that the boys' relationship is not accepted by society and that they may face ridicule and ostracism. However, the poem celebrates their bond and suggests that it is stronger than any societal norms or expectations.
The final lines of the poem, "For I see you, and I love you, and I know that we belong together," are a powerful affirmation of the boys' love and brotherhood. The use of the word "belong" suggests that their relationship is natural and right, and that they are meant to be together. The poem ends on a note of hope and optimism, suggesting that their bond will endure despite any challenges they may face.
In conclusion, "We Two Boys Together Clinging" is a powerful and moving tribute to love and brotherhood. Through vivid imagery and powerful language, Walt Whitman celebrates the bond between two individuals who share a deep connection that transcends societal norms and expectations. The poem is a reminder that love and intimacy come in many forms, and that we should celebrate and cherish these connections wherever we find them.
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