O Me! O Life! O Friday in the Lab!

Walt WhitmanOver the course of the last month, we’ve come to the understanding that poetry is a wonderful means of expressing tremendous emotion. While we often think of poems as cute bits of rhythmic writing that sometimes rhyme, they actually tackle much deeper subjects. In essence, poetry is a vehicle for exploring the deepest recesses of our innermost selves.

Today, we are going to take a ride in the poetry-vehicle by reading O Me! O Life! by Walt Whitman!

Click the link!

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THE TASKFirst, read Whitman’s O Me! O Life! (click here for the text). Once you’ve engaged with the poem, respond to the following prompts by using the “Leave a Reply” feature at the bottom of the page. For full credit, your responses must consist of complete sentences and demonstrate active engagement.

PROMPTS
A) Describe the process of reading Whitman’s poem. How did it make you feel? What did you think about upon finishing it?

B) Choose and present a line from the poem that you find especially intriguing. What interest you about this line? How does Whitman’s diction/syntax contribute to the feel of the poem? 

C) The poem ends with an “answer” of sorts. What is the question posed in the preceding lines? How would you paraphrase this answer in your words?

D) What is another work (poem/movie/song/play/novel/whatever) that has provided you some sort of answer? In what way(s) does the work answer something for you? Feel free to include a link to this material!

23 thoughts on “O Me! O Life! O Friday in the Lab!

  1. A) At first, the poem made me feel down. It’s another poem about how bad the world really is and questioning your place in it. Everyone, especially teens, question their place in the world, so I related to this. When you get to the answer, it’s surprisingly really uplifting. It says how you are in the world, you are a part of it as much as anything else on the earth-the trees, the water, the animals. You belong here. Life goes on and just by existing you are contributing to the world.

    B) “Of myself forever reproaching myself, (for who more foolish than I, and who more faithless?)” I like this line because at first he is saying how bad people are and how rough the world is because of it, but this shows that even he is bad. Not the evil kind of bad, but he is just as faithless and foolish as everyone else, if not more. He will forever reproach himself because of this.

    C) The question posed in the previous stanza is the question of what good is he to the world and what good is his life? How will he contribute to the world if he is faithless and foolish? The answer is that the good you contribute is the fact that you are here and you exist. You are not just on the earth, you are the earth. Life is like a play and we all contribute to it.

    D) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YqUsAHTUPTU This is the song “After the Storm” by Mumford and Sons. I love this song because of the “answer” it gives:
    “And there will come a time, you’ll see, with no more tears.
    And love will not break your heart, but dismiss your fears.
    Get over your hill and see what you find there,
    With grace in your heart and flowers in your hair.”
    It is basically saying that even though times are hard right now, eventually the storm settles and you’ll find love and all that cheesy goodness. It is an answer in the sense that it tells you what happens “after the storm”, after all the trouble and cruelness-there is some good left. I love this song because it really is inspiring and makes you feel just plain old good.

  2. A) Then poem made me feel worried while I was reading it. I was worried that what we do will get washed away by the rains of time. The answer did at least make me feel better, and that I shouldn’t worry about the future.

    B) “That the powerful play goes on, and you will contribute a verse.”
    This line had a powerful impact on me. It says that even though life will go on once we are all lost and forgotten, but that every single person plays a part in it.

    C) The question is one that philosophers and high college students have been asking since philosophy and drugs have been invented/discovered: Why are we here? Honestly, we really don’t know, and we might never know. The answer Walter White-err…Walt Whitman gave wasn’t very filling, yet it also helps ease the pain of unknowing. Essentially, he says that We are here so we can enjoy our fleeting time on this planet, whether you think this planet is godforsaken or god’s gift. Whether that’s a good answer, a bad one, or the ONLY one, is up to you. I think that we should all just go on with our lives and silently the Giant Rabbit in a top hat with a monocle and smoking a pipe. that rules this Earth.

    D) Oddly enough, my answer comes from a podcast called “Welcome to Nightvale”. This podcast basically just pokes fun at, well, umm, everything I guess. The podcast is a radio news station in a small town in the desert call Nightvale. It is an interesting place, to say the least. And, it’s free. The answer it gives me is to just roll with the punches and then when you’re done getting punched, probably because you stole that kids lunch money, or maybe because you hit that guy’s car, but anyway, when you’re done getting punched, you just need to laugh it of, get up, and let the beating start again. Basically, whatever happens, you just need to take it with pride and be glad it’s not worse, probably.

  3. A) It seemed like the poem built and was tense. It asked a questions about life and existence that were very philosophical. The end of the poem, seemed like a relief. He says that the answer to all of the questions of why we live, is that we live and we are all a part of life and existence.

    B) “Of myself forever reproaching myself, (for who more foolish than I, and who more faithless?)”
    This line stands out to me because he is saying that he is the most foolish of all of the foolish men walking around the city and he is more faithless than “the endless trains of the faithless”. It is strange that he sees himself as the most foolish and faithless because most people would say there must be someone more foolish walking around a city or more faithless.

    C)The question is what is good about life, and the answer is that you are your own identity and that you are a part of the “play” that is the stories of humanity.

    D) A song that had a significant answer to me is Good People by Jack Johnson. the song asks the question, What has happened to the good people? He says that all of the people who are famous now are not good people and the shows we watch on television romanticize the lives of bad people. Though he never really say it, the answer I got from the song is that now, the good people are the unrecognized people. The people that go unnoticed are the people who really are good.

  4. A) This poem made me feel curious and interested in the topic. Whitman proposed the idea of life in a different way people usually wouldn’t think about it. He was asking the reader what they think of life, and how we should be happy that we are gifted with the gift life. I think this poem kind of pertains to the quote: “Don’t over-think the past, and cherish the moment, because what you do now is a reflection of tomorrow.”

    B) “Of the empty and useless years of the rest—with the rest me intertwined”. This line is kind of uplifting because it is a addressing that your future is yours, and whatever you do today can influence what it will be. The word empty in this line is very powerful because it is stating that there is nothing set in stone for here on out; anything is possible.

    C) Whitman is questioning what the good is in life, or what is the middle? In my own words, I would say that life itself is the good. If we didn’t have life, we wouldn’t have anything. Life itself is our gift and we should be cherishing that instead of dwelling upon it.

    D) Something that gave me an answer was actually a quote from Walt Disney. The quote was, “Around here, we don’t look backwards for very long.. We keep moving forward, opening new doors and doing new things because we’re curious… And curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.” When I first saw this quote, I was currently over thinking the past, and letting the past keep me from the future. The quote made me realize that the only way to overcome the past is to let the future take it away. From there on out, I tried new things, which opened more doors leading to “new paths”.

  5. A) Reading Whitman’s poem I felt questioning towards his thoughts on life. It made you feel curious and wonder more about yourself after reading it. Finishing it with the line that you contribute a verse puts life in your own hands, you make your life your own.

    B) The most intriguing line to me was “That the powerful play goes on, and you will contribute a verse.” This was the most interesting to me because it gives you a perspective on life. It shows that you add excitement and adventure to your own life and you write it.

    C) The question proposed before the answer is “What good amid these, O me, O life?” This basically means, what is good about me and my life? or maybe what is the point? To me, the answer means that being alive, experiencing the life you’re lucky to have is something you should appreciate about life. That you have an identity and that you are here matters.

    D) Another work, a novel, that has provided me with an answer to a question similar to this would be “It’s Kind of a Funny Story” by Ned Vizzini. The story of this novel is showing the same point as Whitman’s poem. It shows the value of life and how much it means to be here. Vizzini wrote the story of a kid who wanted to take that away from himself and his slow realization through the journey of a mental hospital to discover his reasons to live.

  6. 1. The beginning made me feel sad and sorry for the faithless and foolish man. Then, at the end when he started talking about the meaning of life and why he’s living, it made me happy. The ending was very uplifting and inspirational.

    2. “That the powerful play goes on, and you will contribute a verse.” I like this line because it’s very positive. It shows how you’re on the Earth to make a difference and leave your mark, and that it should be one of your goals in life. It’s a metaphor -the play is life and the verse you contribute is your contribution to the world while you’re on it.

    3. The question is what the meaning of life is. Then, the “answer” is what the meaning of life actually is, according to Whitman. In simple terms, it says that the meaning of life is to make a positive impact and leave a mark.

    4. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VT_d2yjkUaY

    The song is Mercy by Dave Matthews Band. It is a song we are performing this season in marching band. It explains how all these bad things are happening to us and the world, and how we have have dug ourselves a whole too deep and may not be able to turn around. The band tells listeners to be kind to each other and to help out. I really like this song because it is very uplifting and that it’s time for everyone to start making a difference before it’s too late. I believe this song can answer anyone’s questions about what we need to do to stop all the crime and hate.

  7. A) Describe the process of reading Whitman’s poem.
    -You slowly get more depressed as you get further into it. It makes you feel bad about yourself and for yourself.
    *How did it make you feel?
    -It made me feel sad. It made me think of all the things that are wrong with myself, life, and everyone around me. It’s sad that all you can do is contribute to life a little bit, and to think that everything is forgotten.
    *What did you think about upon finishing it?
    -It makes me want to go out and do something important that will change lives and make great things happen, but at the same times it makes me want to curl up in a ball and cry because everything is pointless.

    B) Choose and present a line from the poem that you find especially intriguing.
    -“That the powerful play goes on, and you will contribute a verse.”
    *What interest you about this line?
    -I like the idea that even though nothing really matters and things are pretty rough he doesn’t give up. He still wants to try to contribute to the world.
    *How does Whitman’s diction/syntax contribute to the feel of the poem?
    -The way it’s broken into pieces with dramatic pauses makes it easier to read and understand. Repetition helps show the passion behind the poem.

    C) The poem ends with an “answer” of sorts. What is the question posed in the preceding lines?
    -The question is basically “what’s the point of it all?”
    *How would you paraphrase this answer in your words?
    -There is no point, but that doesn’t mean we should give up on trying to create one and do good things and help people and create art.

    D) What is another work (poem/movie/song/play/novel/whatever) that has provided you some sort of answer?
    -I can’t remember exactly what it was called, but a few of Allie Brosh’s (Hyperbole and a Half) blog posts are about her dog: commonly referred to as the “Special Dog”. In one of them he gets out of her house and goes on an adventure. When they find him and take him home he gets super depressed because he was so excited about his awesome new life outside that he forgot how to live inside.
    *In what way(s) does the work answer something for you?
    -I love this story for a lot of reasons, but mainly I love the idea of adventure. I love the idea that just outside of the things we know exist is a whole other world and if we never saw it we’d forget our homes ever even existed. This story tells me that it is possible that there’s something more exciting than our floating little planet. I want to be the Special Dog. I want to forget what home feels like.

  8. A. This poem made me feel like life has ups and down along with happy and sad times. As long as you push your life through the negative you will make something great of your life.
    B. “Of myself forever reproaching myself, (for who more foolish than I, and who more faithless?)” This line interests me because hes basically saying hes forever finding himself and no one is more or less than anything of you what you are. If you’re foolish than no one can be more foolish than you if you find yourself to be like that.
    C. The question that hes asking is basically what is life? Life has good and bad in it and hes mostly focused on the bad. Hes curious as to why life exists in a way.
    The answer is telling him that life is life and it will be here. You being on this earth and being apart of life is contributing to life. Every person can make in impact on life whether you notice it or not.
    D. A work that has provided me with some sort of answer is Looking for Alaska. The book demonstrates that when you lose something that meant a lot to you, you would do anything to find out what happened to them or it. The answer it gave me is that in life you should cherish what you have because it won’t be around forever. Life is a weird concept. When things are taken away from you, you feel lost, but that is life.

  9. 1) Walt Whitman’s poem made me feel depressed. The whole overall mode of the poem was kind of drowned out. The tone was sad too.

    2) The line in the poem that I find most interesting is “Of the endless trains of the faithless—of cities fill’d with the foolish;” because I feel like its saying that in every town there are foolish people and faitless people.

    3) I think the question is “Why am I here?” Or “Why am i so special?” or something along those lines. I think it had something to do with his life. I believe that it;s kind of a “why me?” question.

    4) A poem that has given me answers is “Life goes on” because when times are rough I sometimes forget that life goes on. I convince myself that nothing will ever get better and my life is always going to be awful. But when I read that poem I remember that life does go on.

  10. A) While reading this poem it is evidently divided into two sections. One of which, the beginning, is much longer and makes you feel almost depressed and questionable towards life. However, the second section, the one which provides the “answer” revives your faith in reality by explaining that life does exist and you are important to it. Upon finishing the poem it was a much more uplifting mood than the beginning of it.

    B) I particularly liked the last line of this poem that states “That the powerful play goes on, and you will contribute a verse.” What particularly intrigued me at first was what Whitman meant by “the powerful play.” In my own interpretation, I took it as being the “soundtrack” of life that was playing. It is described as powerful because everyone in the world is involved in this soundtrack, and he claims the reader’s importance by stating “you will contribute a verse.” In general I was interested by his point that every single person has a meaning and place in our world. The way Whitman proclaims this makes it believable because it is not stated as a suggestion, it is stated as fact.

    C) The question that is posed is whether or not life should be considered good even with the selfish, foolish, and faithless people. In addition, where does one fall into a society with all of these imperfections. The answer I believe to be is that everyone exists in their own way, and shapes what our world is as a whole. Also, that the reader should feel important as well assuring that they too contribute to society.

    D) I think a song that provides an “answer” is “You’re Gonna Miss This” by Trace Adkins. Throughout the song it talks about how you need to enjoy the present rather than being overcome by what the future has to hold. It emphasizes the fact that whether or not you know it you are going to wish that everything didn’t go by as quick as it did. Basically the answer is that you should try and really appreciate what you have in the moment because eventually you wil miss it.

  11. A.) I felt sort of confused while reading Whitman’s poem. He added a lot of exclamation points which made me feel like he was happy at first but his happiness faded. Whitman began to talk about depressing topics. Which made me feel pretty depressed/down too. His word choice really made you feel upset or negative.
    B.) “Of eyes that vainly crave the light—of the objects mean—of the struggle ever renew’d;” I believe that this line was extremely intriguing and interesting. His vocabulary is truly impecable. This contributes to the poem because of his way of bringing himself down. I think he is trying to say that he is only interested in material objects and that really makes him struggle as a person. Whitman word choice of “Of eyes that vainly crave the light—of the objects mean—” tells me that him or someone else only cares about material objects.
    C.) I believe Whitmans question was why the world is so bad?
    really sure, he could be talking about something different but thats what I got out of it. “That you are here—that life exists, and identity;
    That the powerful play goes on, and you will contribute a verse.” That was the answer to the question, I believe that it means that in a world of people you still contribute and you still are somebody.
    D.) I’m not really sure of anything that reminds me of this poem

  12. A. This poem by Walt Whitman made me feel like I am just a small part of life and that I contribute very little to society with so many people. When i finished reading the poem, I thought about how life continues with or without you and It waits for nobody.
    B. “That the powerful play goes on, and you will contribute a verse.” I thought this line from the poem was interesting because, the powerful play is describing life and only contributing a verse is saying how you as an individual only contribute a small amount, which could make you feel small.
    C. The “question” is basically asking what is life? The answer, in my opinion, is that every person contributes to life, big or small. Also that life waits for nobody and will continue with or without you.
    D. Another piece of work that provided me with some sort of an answer would be The Fault in our Stars by John Green. By the end of the book they realized they should live their days to the fullest. To not count the days but to make them count.

  13. A) The poem made me feel curious and slightly confused. The poem makes you question life and our reasons for living it. As I finished it, I thought about all of the many people in the world, and all that were here before and their contributions to the world, no matter how big or small.

    B) I find the line “That the powerful play goes on, and you will contribute a verse.” particularly intriguing. I like it because it reminds us that we all have a purpose and will be remembered for some reason. Whitman is stating that everyone makes some sort of contribution to the world and leaves some sort of legacy.

    C) The question Whitman is posing is basically “What is the point of life, if there are terrible things happening everywhere?” Whitman’s answer is essentially that each individual has their own personal reason to live, and is important in some way.

    D) Another work that has provided me some sort of answer is the book “Looking for Alaska” by John Green. Throughout the novel, the notion that everyone is trapped in the “labyrinth of suffering” is mentioned. At the end of the story it is declared that “The only way out of the labyrinth of suffering is to forgive.” This reminds us that in order to be happy it is important to always forgive and forget.

  14. 1. When I read the poem I found the first few lines to be depressing, but I also think that they are true. He said that there are fools everywhere and years go by with nothing happening. When I finished it I thought it was interesting, the way he talks about how life is pointless with so much and then says why it is not pointless with so little.
    2. One interesting line is “Of myself forever reproaching myself, (for who more foolish than I, and who more faithless)”. This line is interesting because he is saying that he is always correcting himself, and admits that he is foolish and faithless. Whitman’s syntax contributes to the feel of the poem because he does not try to say things kindly, just as he sees them, such as calling people foolish and sordid.
    3.The question that Whitman poses is with all that is wrong and unimportant with the world, what is good about life? The answer is that while people live they have a chance to be different from others, and have the chance to make a difference in the world.
    4. Something else that has given me some sort of answer is the T.V show M*A*S*H. It answered the question of whether or not war is always necessary by showing that it isn’t. This is because in the Korean War there was a lit of fighting and killing until a ceasefire was declared, so really little ended up being done, despite all of the sacrifice.

  15. A. When I read it for the first time, I didn’t really understand the meaning. I got images of depressed and run down people riding the train to an old factory. I have a feeling that that’s what he wanted though. It made me feel like he walked the earth and only saw sad people going through their sad lives doing sad jobs and always being sad. After finishing the poem, I thought that he just wanted an answer on everything from why does life exist to are we real and does life exist.

    B. “Of the endless trains of the faithless—of cities fill’d with the foolish;”
    This line is particularly interesting because he is basically judging the whole population he grew up around as faithless and foolish. Later on, he says that he him self is the most faithless and foolish, which makes you wonder that if anyone isn’t faithless and foolish. Of course, people will argue that they believe in God or whatever but faithless can have another meaning. It can mean that you lost faith in your life, or the people around you. Whitman’s syntax gives the impression that this fact is disheartening. He “sounds” like he himself has just given up and lost faith in the people around him, which gives more credence to his saying that he is the most faithless and foolish.

    C. Whitman is basically asking one huge question. He is asking what is life. All of the things he mentions can all be related back to that question. “What good amid these, O me, O life?” He is basically asking why is life good if all these things–such as the trains of sad sad people and the empty and useless years of the rest–are terrible. Why do we “do” life if it’s terrible? The answer is that life will go on, and your goal is to contribute, however small your contribution is.

    D. Nothing really gives me an answer. I try and figure everything out myself, but music does help me sort out my ideas. The band ghost chief helped me sort out some ideas about relationships and stuff. http://ghostchief.bandcamp.com/

  16. A) The poem as a whole is a rollercoaster of emotions. The majority of it is negative and depressing. But by the end it turns into a much more positive piece.
    B) ” That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse.” What I enjoy about this line is how it ties into the poem itself. Not to what’s in the poem but to the actual poem. Whitman is writing a poem about life while questioning what is the point of life. Then at the end he says the point of life is that you are living, and that you get to contribute a line to the epic poem that is life.
    C)Whitman is asking what is happiness in life if the world is so tragic. His answer to his own question is that, just being alive is enough to warrant happiness. The history of the world could have unfolded in so many ways, and most of those possible outcomes involve you or any individual never being born. So just being alive is a privilege and is enough to warrant happiness.
    D) The only time I can think of receiving an “answer” of some kind is from a band known as “the protomen.” They’ve made a ( currently unfinished) rock-opera which details a 1984- esque society where the entirety of mankind is oppressed by a single man in control of an army of machines. The question posed throughout the first act is “how did one man come into control of the entire world?” On several occasions an individual tries to rebel, but everyone else just watches on while said individual is killed. Then at the end of the first act the “answer” is given: Humanity fell into oppression because they were too afraid to do anything. This speaks volumes about several events in human history, where terrible events have been caused by one person (Hitler, Stalin, Mussolini), and that one person is outnumbered by thousands who could have stopped him but didn’t because they were afraid.

  17. A.) This poem made me feel a bit curious. At first it seemed like a lot of excellent questions but no answers. I always wanted to keep reading to discover the answer, which I eventually did. After finishing it I gathered that the speaker is searching for the answers of life and comes to the conclusion that there is not one answer. Life is what you make of it and its meaning if left to be determined by yourself. I felt hopeful at the conclusion of this poem and confident that the speaker received the message.

    B.) “That the powerful play goes on” I like this quote from the poem a lot because it is very hopeful. It is talking about how life goes on and there is nothing you can really do to stop it. So why not enjoy it? It also uses the word “powerful” to descibe the “play” which can be interpreted to be your life. It gives you the impression that your life does have meaning and it does have power. You, as the person living it, just needs to go out and prove what the power exactly is.

    C.) The question in the beginning of the poem is generally the speaker asking what is their purpose in life ? The speaker wants to know what his purpose of living is and how he should go about doing it. The answer is a great one and explains that life goes on no matter what, without you involvement. It is what you make of it that matters. It is you that writes the next “verse” and it’s your “identity” that determines the way you are going to go about and live the next verse of your life. Your life is in no one but your own hands.

    D.) Almost every song ever written has a secret meaning or idea that the artist wants to provide to its listeners. Some more tricky to figure out than others. One song that taught me a lesson was “Who Says” by Selena Gomez. One of the main lines in the song is “Who says your not perfect?” This line is an open ended question that Selena wants her fans to think about. The correct answer is no one because no one can tell you who you are beside yourself. You become who you are based on your decisions and no one has the power to stop you. Selena has confidence in herself, stating that she “…wouldn’t wan’t to be anybody else” and she wants her listeners to be the same way and have confidence in themselves. If you are happy with yourself then others will be happy with you too.

  18. A) Reading Whitman’s poem made me feel as though I was going though some form of depression. It also brought on thoughts of death and misery and if I was doing anything wrong with the way I am living my life currently. It made me think of how much time I will have until my own death. It also can make one reflect on what they have done wrong in the past years of their lives.

    B) “That you are here—that life exists, and identity;” This line interested me because of how certain people can make a huge difference if peoples lives today. One person can make the world to someone even for the small things. In the end of the poem, Whitman is stating someone of some sort has helped him in some way and that life can go on as normal.

    C) The question in the beginning of the poem is describing his need or assistance for someone to help him or describe to him why he is here and alive today. If he doesn’t find someone to help him or find an answer he will be forever alone. The answer to the solution is that someone has given him enlightenment during is conclusion of his life. There is always someone that can help you in a time of need and the author is trying to say that in the body of the poem.

    D) The Lord of the Flies has given me some sort of answer to life in general because of how society works. People will tend to be evil and do wrongful things and some will do the right things but it is up to you to make the right choice. Also in the novel the theory of how a social class is necessary in order for life to go onward.

    -hi

    😛

  19. A.) Whitman’s poem gave me a sense of hope and purpose. It made me think that everyone was put on this Earth for a reason, and although we may not know that reason yet, it’s still there.

    B.) “That the powerful play goes on, and you will contribute a verse.” I really like this line because it has a great message behind it. It’s basically saying that life goes on and we’ll always have a part in it, whether we want to or not.

    C.) I think the question is something like ‘what is life?’ or ‘why do we all live one?’.
    The answer is that life exists because we have to live it. And that life goes on even if your not living it to the fullest.

    D.) The song What A Wonderful World by Louis Armstrong answers to me that there is still good things in the world. Even will all the recent crime and tragedy in today’s world, it lets me know that there are still some good things. This song always puts me in a good and in a happier mood.

  20. A) While reading this poem, I felt sad at first. I got this overwhelming feeling of somberness and questioning. It got me thinking about my own self-worth and why I was here on Earth. When I got to the end and had finished reading the answer, I immediately had to go back and read it again. At first I didn’t really like the poem,
    but once I had finished it and Whitman had given an answer to his own questions, I just had to go back and re-read it, now knowing that there was an answer to all these depressing questions asked throughout the poem. To be able to write a powerful piece like this that evokes such strong emotions is difficult and very impressive. This poem had be sad at the beginning, and then so pleased and eager at the end.

    B) I think my favorite part of the line is when Whitman compares life to a play and says “That the powerful play goes on, and you will contribute a verse.” I was absolutely stunned upon reading this. How wonderful it is that a poem can make us feel such strong emotions with just a combination of 26 letters arranged in the perfect order. I think what Whitman was trying to convey was that no matter how insignificant something is, it is always there and will always have an impact. In a play each verse is integral to the production, and even though it may be one verse, that verse makes the play a whole. Like people, each person makes the world what it is today. Without you, the world could be an entirely different place. Although at times you may feel insignificant you still contribute a great amount to the world and matter a great deal. So even though you could be just one verse, that one verse is needed.

    C) I think that the question that this poem is asking is “What is the meaning of life, and where do I fit in? What is my meaning here?” which is a pretty bold question to ask. It’s sort of like THE question of life. I think that everyone at least once, if not a thousand times, asks what our purpose here is. And it’s kind of a tough question to pose. Many people have researched what the possible reason for life on Earth is, and I don’t think any of those people have found a very significant answer. At least not yet, anyway. I think the most important part of this question is to acknowledge that it’s there but not dwell on it. After all, who wants to spend their whole life wondering why there IS life? (see response B for details about the “answer” to this poem)

    D) There’s a quote that answers something for me that I try to think about often to keep me from going insane. It’s a quote by Katie Kacvinsky that says “Maybe it’s not the doors that open in our lives, but the doors that close that define us. That guide us. Because they force us to move on. Instead of thinking about what we lose, look at what we can gain.” I feel like this quote is really powerful, and can really help people going through any sort of tough time. For me, being involved in the theater and music world, rejection is almost more common that acceptance. In the beginning, rejection was a really hard concept for me. I was young, and not getting the role in a musical or the solo in a choral piece was devastating for me. Even now, being older and having learned much more about rejection, it’s still tough having people say “No, we don’t want you.” This quote really struck me the first time I saw it. It answered that never-ending question in my brain constantly haunting me from past shows or ensembles whispering “Why aren’t you good enough?” I realized that maybe it’s not JUST the doors that are opening towards opportunities that make me a better singer/actress/person, but the REJECTION that does it too. Now, after every rejection, I think about what I can learn from the experience and take away from it. I just love the part that says “look at what we can gain.” I mean really, LOOK AT WHAT WE CAN GAIN! LOOK AT WHAT WE CAN GAIN! Think of how different things would have been if every time you wanted something you got it.

  21. A.) This poem brings many lifelong questions to light. These including what is the vast mystery of life’s meaning, and of what our own seemingly unimportant existance has to do with the vast scope of things. This poem, unlike others I have read, does not just ask these questions and expect you to ponder them; it gives you an answer. This answer is that, no matter how insignificant you believe you are, that life and identity exist, and that you have no choice to contribute. So, how do we contribute? Simply by living and being alive.

    B.) A line that I found to be intrigueing is the line directly before the answer, the one that provides the question by saying “The question, O me! so sad, recurring— what good amid these, O me, O life?”. This quote draws interest from me because the narrator of the poem is questioning their significance. They are comparing the value of their life, and of their identity, to the crowds around them. What good is it among these others to praise my life? Why does it matter, or better yet, why do I matter? It’s a question I am sure everyone has asked themselves at one point or another, so it accurately strikes home.

    C.) The question is, why should I value my life, or what significance do I have? If I had to reword the answer given in the text to fit my own words, I would say that the importance lies within the fact that we al ARE alive. We all have our own identites, our own lives, different experiences of our own and different ways of thinking; that’s what makes us all unique compared to others. We need to realize that, even if we think ourselves insignificant on the vast scale of things, we are alive. We are living, breathing people who have our own lives to live, all different from the others around us; no matter how much we try to disbelieve it, we are going to keep on living, so we might as well make a mark, right? It’s a question of self worth, and the answer lies within the term of identity.

    D.) The poem I chose answers the question of “what is fea?”, or better yet, “What am I afraid of?”. I tend to be that person who never jumps or hides myself away when watching horror movies, who never screams in haunted houses, and who, when everyone watches a horror movie, smiles at how epic it is, or laughs at how lame it is. This poem made me realize what I was truly afraid of, because, if anyone else had ever asked me before, “What is your biggest fear?”, i wouldn’t be able to answer them. At least not without thinking long and hard about it…It made me realize what I am afraid of; i’ll let the words show the answer for me: http://www.familyfriendpoems.com/poem/fear-itself-is-undefined

  22. A)It is inspired.Although the former sentences look like lost, the answer is pretty true. Because we are part of nature and part of history. Every second will become a life when it accumulate tiny by tiny. The magic thing of time and life is that you can’t repeat. It just likes a live performance. Everyone all has their special and unique performance. History is accumulation of each performance.Also you are so lucky to live in this world and live here.
    B)”Of the endless trains of the faithless—of cities fill’d with the foolish”
    Writer used ironic and confused diction to express feeling. His words are a very strong sense of pictures. Imagine the people passing by or walking in the NYC. They are so busy but most of them don’t know what they are busy for, what the meaning of life. We don’t have time to calm down thinking about our soul, our life and the universe.
    C)”The question, O me!”
    My words: What is the meaning of life?
    D)”When I come to die, discover that I had not lived.” He told me to give up something to full your soul. To follow your heart is very important. To live life fulfillment. You should follow your steps instead of losing in the crowd.

  23. A) While reading Walt Whitman’s poem, “O Me! O Life!” I felt a little depressed and sensed a somber tone. Whitman seemed to be asking many questions that he was unsure about and that made me feel uneasy. What I thought upon finishing the poem was that Whitman was trying to come to terms with all of the hardships. He wanted to believe that his questions would be answered.

    B) A line from the poem that I find especially intriguing is “O ME! O life!…of the questions of these recurring.” I found this interesting because it is saying that we have many questions about ourselves and life. Many of those questions we cannot answer. I think the continous use of “of” at the beginning of each line contributes to the diction in the poem.

    C) The question posed in the preceding lines is that what good can come out of myself and life? I think the answer is that we can make ourselves useful in life and that way we will make a difference.

    D) A poem that has provided me with an answer is the poem “Little Orphant Annie” by James Whitcomb Riley. This poem answers the question of how you should behave by getting the message across that we should all behave in a good way because it benefits us all.

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