Free essay sample – There was a child went forth –


There was a child went forth is a poem by Walt Whitman and he uses it to demonstrate to others how a child views the world. It is important to note that this particular poem takes the reader through some details that are a must in each and every child’s environment, for example, the people, nature, and the family and how these details play a part in influencing the life of the child. The argument in this particular poem is that the above-mentioned details, in the long run, become part of the child. This particular paper will argue that various details and elements in the environment play a crucial role in influencing a child’s life and that Walt Whitman’s argument is true.

Why the author feels this perspective is important

It can be acknowledged that the author views this perspective as being important by critically analyzing the different parts of the poem. For example, it can be established that the child is a special one among many from the title of the poem itself. This child is special through the way he ventures into the world and embraces it bravely with little assistance experiencing the different details of the environment that latter become part of him. The textual evidence ‘the first object the child looks upon the child becomes’ (Whitman) reflects upon the author’s arguments and helps one understand why this particular perspective is important. The author insists that it does not matter the size, characteristic, or form of a specific detail in the environment, the child incorporates it into himself and for years and years, the different details become part of him. The author chose this focus to make his argument simply because each and everyone across the globe was once a child and slowly through the processes of growth and development a child comes into contact with different aspects of the environment that make up the individual that the child will grow and develop to become. To effectively do this, the author in his own creativity critically analyzes the imagination of a child and how everything around the child molds the child into an adult. In addition to this, the author feels that this particular perspective is important because a majority of the impressionists of philosophy during the 19th century used the child’s approach to the world around him to describe the world. By using this particular approach, the author, as well as, the other impressionists got the opportunity to paint the image of the world without dimension, depth, or any other thing that would corrupt influence and this is because it is only a child that is able to see and perceive the world for what it is.

How does the Author make his argument?

The author makes his argument by using a combination of lose and precise language that can be described as being both common and varied. It is through this that the author places his argument in between the artistic and the real realm. The structure of the poem also contributes to the smooth delivery of the argument as the poem’s flow remains in a list like form throughout. Within this structure, the author plays around with different emotions by rapidly moving from excitement to doubt and finally to a resolution to discard all doubt. It is important to note that doubt begins to show its presence as the child begins to as the child begins to venture into the world, thus experience the various elements and details of nature that make up the human world. According to the author, one of these elements or details of nature includes the youthful excitement that surrounded the world which to a great extent impacts the child’s life by filling it with both wonder and meaning. It is true to state that the author’s presentation of these particular elements mirrors the imaginations, as well as, the experiences of a child in a different environment.

            It is important to note that the author arranges these different elements on the environment in a rambling stream of consciousness that is marked the (the’s) and the (and’s) in the poem. Through this, the author makes the audience assume that there could have been more than enough that could have been used to describe the endless procession of elements of the environment that got to fill the heart of the child. The author goes a step further to make the audience understand how the child discovered more and more mysteries of the natural environment and this can be seen through the textual evidence ‘suspended curiously in beautiful curious liquid’ (Whitman). In this part of the poem, the author expresses how a child senses more mystery behind the pond of water that has fish. It is important to keep in mind that people are also some of the elements the author uses in the poem to influence the child’s growth and development and they include the old drunkard, schoolmistress, and the barefoot Negro girl and boy. It can be acknowledged that the author uses the (the’s) instead of the (a’s) to describe these individuals within the child’s imagination and in the process, the author describes a large spectrum of the race and gender types all which are foreign concepts to the child. The child also incorporates these concepts into himself, thus, he becomes a forerunner of unconditional acceptance, as well as, equality. The author makes the audience understand how the child is pushed by the people in his life beyond the bounds of childhood enabling him to deal with some of the negative aspects of human life, for example, inequality and rejection.


According to the author, it is only a child that has the ability to see the world for what it is and in the poem, the child has a willingness to not only see the world for what it is but to also take it for what it is. By doing this, the child will always go forth, thus, each and every element of the environment the child encounters will influence him in his adulthood.

Works Cited

100% free essay samples –

Whitman, Walt. There was a Child Went Forth–. Yale University, 1978.

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