English Notes Latest Questions

Write a detailed summary of Animals poem by Walt Whitman

Write a detailed summary of Animals poem by Walt Whitman

1 Answer

  1. Introduction

    Walt Whitman’s poem ‘Animals’ is a singularization of plurality. The poet discovers a sense of oneness with the animal kingdom. The poet’s foundation is his affection for and intimacy to their animal soul. Humans do not grumble, nag, or spew meaningless remarks in the poet’s world. There are no norms, no conventions, and even no regrets in his universe. What keeps the poet alive is the beauty of the current moment. In this poetry, the poet cheerfully abandons humanity in favour of animals.

    Stanza 1

    Walt Whitman’s ‘Animals’ starts right away, without beating around the bush. Whitman wishes to transform into an animal and be one of them. The reason is apparent. They are placid or easy-going and are not easily agitated by everyday events. They are content with what they have. In these attributes, the poet is no different from the animals. That’s why he watches them for hours and feels amazed by seeing himself reflected in them.

    Stanza 2

    This portion of Walt Whitman’s ‘Animals’ relates to the three primary qualities that distinguish animals from humans. To begin with, they do not “sweat and whine”(complain) about their condition. The poet employs metonymy in “sweat” to explain strain as a source of sweating. Second, according to the poet, they do not lay awake at night weeping for their sins.

    They are indifferent about God’s vengeance or sufferings in hell. Finally, they do not make the poet sick by reminding him of his obligations to God. Here, the poet expresses his rebellious (non-conformist) nature, which is in tune with the creatures of the wild.

    Furthermore, the poet metaphorically parallels possessive behavior to a kind of obsession in “mania of owning things.” poet continues to speak about the traits of animals in this part of ‘Animals.’ He states that no animal is dissatisfied with what they have. They aren’t even demented from materialistic needs. They also never kneel before another entity or the beings that came before them.

    They are unconcerned with gaining social regard and are not deceitful like humans. They show their true colors in front of other animals. Each one is treated with equal respect. Their hearts are always filled with joy. The poet condemns worldliness in this passage. He emphasizes the significance of self-awarenessindividual liberty, and present happiness.

    As Walt Whitman explains all the reasons in the preceding section, he adds, “So they show their relations to me and I accept them”. The poet’s heart holds no regrets about breaking ties with the human world. As they bring him the “tokens” of himself, he accepts them. In other words, it reflects the poet’s nature in a symbol or representation. These symbols are clearly displayed to the poet.

    Stanza 3

    In the last two lines of ‘Animals’, Whitman wonders where they acquired those tokens. He implies that he may have dropped them negligently (carelessly) in the past. It suggests that he was once a part of their world. Time has changed him and torn the string that binds them together. He realized after many years in the human world, that this world did not resemble his nature. That is why he proudly announces his fidelity to the animal world.


    In conclusion, the entire poem is about the growth of human greed and desire. The poet believes that in the beginning of time, humans were innocent, honest and decent. All of those virtues, however, have now been lost. Animals, on the other hand, appear to have retained those virtues.

You must login to add an answer.