Discussion Questions

Discussion Question 9

"Song of Myself," by Walt Whitman
Specimen Days, by Michael Cunningham

Choose one of the following questions and answer it as thoughtfully as possible, after reading the lectures. Then post your answer to the English 207 Message Board by the deadline. Your answer is due no later than Thursday, May 17.

Your responses to other students' answers are due by midnight on Sunday, May 20. in order to get the full 20 points, you MUST respond thoughtfully to at least 2 other people's postings.

Please answer the question as thoughtfully as possible, after reading the lecture. Then post your answer to the English 207 Message Board by the deadline.

We will be using the Canvas Discussion Board for this class. Click on the link below to get to the Canvas portal, sign in, and then click on the box for this class. You will find the "Discussions" link on the left side of the screen:

Discussion Board

Remember: This discussion question is worth a possible 20 points. Late answers will receive 0 points. Points will be assigned according to the thoughtfulness of your answers, not by whether they are "right" or not, since sometimes there is no "right" answer. Just be sure your ideas are supported by the material in the readings.

"Song of Myself," by Walt Whitman
Specimen Days, by Michael Cunningham

1. What portrait of America does "Song of Myself" paint? Give specific examples and direct quotes from the poem to illustrate your ideas.


2. How does "Song of Myself" express the idea of the unity of all things? Give specific examples and direct quotes from the poem to illustrate your ideas.


3. How does Michael Cunningham's Specimen Days reflect the ideas in Walt Whitman's "Song of Myself"? Give specific examples and direct quotes from the novel to illustrate your ideas.


4. Do the characters in each of the sections of Michael Cunningham's Specimen Days (i.e., New York of the 1800s, New York of the early 21st century, the United States of the future) live by the ideas in Walt Whitman's "Song of Myself"? Explain. Give specific examples and direct quotes from the novel to illustrate your ideas.

--The mural on this page is called "Rural Highway." It's the mural painted for the Middleport, N.Y. Post Office by Marianne Appel in 1941. More information about this mural can be found at Western New York Heritage Press.

--During the Depression in the 1930s and early 1940s, the U.S. government commissioned a number of murals for post offices across the United States. Many of these were quite amazing. To read more about them, CLICK HERE.