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Commentary - A Glimpse by Walt Whitman.

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A GLIMPSE (Walt Whitman) (1) A glimpse through an interstice caught, (2) Of a crowd of workmen and drivers in a bar-room around the stove (3) late of a winter night, and I unremark'd seated in a corner, (4) Of a youth who loves me and whom I love, silently approaching and seating himself (5) near, that he may hold me by the hand, (6) A long while amid the noises of coming and going, of drinking and oath and smutty jest, (7) There we two, content, happy in being together, speaking little, perhaps not a word. Commentary (A Glimpse): A Glimpse is a free verse poem. Free verse poetry is generally patterned by speech and images rather than by regular metrical speech. Freedom also applies to lines. They can be shortened for speed, or segmented into words or syllables to slow down the reading. ...read more.


The fact that these people gathered at night could suggest that they are just relaxing after work and chatting with each other. The warmness of this situation is substantiated by contradicting it to "late" and "winter night" which can be interpreted as cold. "Unremark'd" in the second line separates the narrator from the rest of the "crowd". This emphasizes the fact that we observe the situation through his eyes and interpretation. Also, it stresses the idea of contradicting outside to the inside as the warm environment of the bar-room is later contradicted to the quietness inside him. Second and third lines introduce "the outside" with respect to persona, but if we begin reading the poem but omitting these lines we get a completely different introduction to the situation in lines 4 and 5. These lines bring the inside of persona's thought. ...read more.


"Drinking and oath and smutty jest" brings the idea of charged male sexuality to the atmosphere of people, chatting in the bar-room. This also suggests that that the narrator and his lover inhabit this sexually charged atmosphere differently from the way "the outside" does which thus separates them and opposes them to "the outside", even to the society in this case. The last line again emphasizes the current of this intersubjectivity which is shared by the narrator and his lover by opposing "quietness" to "warmness" which are both present in their relationship. Thus, the meaning of the poem goes far beyond just remarking as it opposes the individual to the society as well as minorities (as emphasized by homosexuality) to societies in which they are unacceptable. Here the subjectivity is split, "the outside" is contradicted to "the inside" thus separating them and emphasizing that they cannot intercommunicate. ...read more.

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