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Walt Whitman


and his democratic poetry


  • to give students some general information about Walt Whitman;
  • to make a summary of poetical works of Walt Whitman;
  • to analyze Whitman’s themes and Whitman’s democracy;
  • to develop students’ reading, speaking skills and to practice pupils’ skills in making presentations.

Equipment: the projector, white screen, the portrait of W. Whitman…


  1. Introduction

The great poet Walt (Walter) Whitman was the first critical realist in America, expressed the country’s democratic spirit and created new poetry – freestyle

He was called Transcendentalist, because his main idea was the supremacy of mind over matter.

(Teacher uses the first slide of the film, created by the student of 11th form – T. Hulatkan.)

Main part

Our task: we are going to speak about Walt Whitman, who opened a new era in the story of American literature and about his democratic traditions…

(Teacher uses the second slide of the film, created by the student of 11th form – T. Hulatkan.)

Walt Whitman

A self-made man was interested in

 Literature  Music

 History Geography



 Theater Archeology


Received his

“University education”

On the roads and big rivers of America



  1. Warm-up

A new “journal” Poetry Magazine of Verse (1912) popularized Whitman’s ideas on realism and democracy. On its title-page were printed Whitman’s words:

“To have great poets, there must be great audiences too!”

Answer the questions:

    How do you understand the words of Walt Whitman?

    What’s the main topic of the epigraph?

(Use p. 92 – American Literature) 

So W. Whitman could summarize:

  • “the proof of a poet is that his country absorbs him as affectionately as he has absorbed it” (the third slide of the film);
  • the fourth slide is about his poems which were translated into Ukrainian, Spanish, German, Italian, Chinese, Japanese);
  • the fifth slide tells about the collection of verses Leaves of Grass (1855).

Whitman displayed his

original style and poetic power


 Free verse                                          he considered the men

                                                                     of hard physical labour



                                                                              “The salt of the earth

  • W. Whitman supported the president Abraham Lincoln and compared him to a great star or a great captain who was the leader of the ship (the State) → the sixth slide of the film;
  • the seventh slide displays the verse “Beat! Beat! Drums!” from the collection “Drum-Taps” (1865)

Teacher: What are the drum and bugle usually associated with?

Answer: The drums and bugles are associated with the voices, speeches, cries of people who don’t want to be oppressive more. Black people would like to get Liberty, Freedom, and such Rights as white people have got.

Teacher: What is the main message of the poem?

Answer: It’s about the war – a civil war, when all honest people should be united in their struggle against oppressors, slave-owners and another dishonest people.

Teacher: What’s the author’s attitude towards war?

Answer: W. Whitman supports the war, because he understands slave-owners and rich oppressors don’t want to abolish slavery in a peaceful way, they don’t want to loose their wealth and prosperity.

  • The poem “O, Captain! My Captain!” is about A. Lincoln – the eighth-ninth slides

IV Summing-up

Teacher: At the end of our lesson I would like to make the conclusion about important merits of Walt Whitman (the tenth slide)

1. He assembled true facts from life.

2. He created a new form of poetry.

3. He believed that a real democracy would be made possible.

4. He created four themes of brotherhood, equality, human worth and progress like the key-note of the whole poetry.


To write a short essay about the main message of the poem “Beat! Beat! Drums!”


 make up the associating bush

Walt Whitman


14 листопада 2018
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