Song of Myself: Section 39 - Summary & Analysis

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The friendly and flowing savage, who is he?
Is he waiting for civilization, or past it and mastering it?
Is he some Southwesterner rais’d out-doors? is he Kanadian?
Is he from the Mississippi country? Iowa, Oregon, California?
The mountains? prairie-life, bush-life? or sailor from the sea?
Wherever he goes men and women accept and desire him,
They desire he should like them, touch them, speak to them, stay with them.
Behavior lawless as snow-flakes, words simple as grass, uncomb’d head, laughter, and naivete,
Slow-stepping feet, common features, common modes and emanations,
They descend in new forms from the tips of his fingers,
They are wafted with the odor of his body or breath, they fly out of the glance of his eyes.


The friendly and flowing savage, who is he?

      The opening line of the poem is enough to show the poet’s aim to glorify everything that is savage or not touched by modern civilization that is polluted and corrupt. He sings of natural and wild and sees beauty into it.


      Just as the poet mentions and likes the animals, he glorifies the qualities of a savage in this section of the poem.

      He likes the primitive man. The savage may not look civilized, yet he is far from the evils of the so-called modern civilization. He behaves as his natural self. He is not eclipsed by the air of sophistication. He is liked by one and all for his innate simplicity.

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