Whitman’s poem (or at least the excerpts from it) is an interesting poem because it focuses on the idea of “I” and “I” can mean Whitman himself or the reader. It’s very clear that throughout the except, Whitman focuses on himself and constantly brings attention to himself. The first line says “meal equally set, this the meat for natural hunger” which literally means that the meal is equal to everyone and that hunger for meat (or food in general) is a very natural reaction. No matter who you are, you have a natural craving for food and will get hungry; thieves, women, slaves, everyone is equal. But he brings attention to himself by saying that he will be sure to invite everyone and not let anyone be left behind. He also says “All I mark as my own you shall offset it with your own, Else it were time lost listening to me.” Literally, he says that everything he does, someone else (the reader perhaps) will also do but differently otherwise, there was no point in listening to Whitman. In a way, it’s reminiscent of trying to avoid making the same mistakes that others have already made; he’s talking about how important it is to listen to him and the advice he gives. Lastly, the most interesting line has to be “I find no sweeter fat than sticks to my own bones” because it’s such an egotistical line; this one line highlights just how important Whitman finds himself and holds himself above everyone else. With all these lines, there’s always a focus on “I” and I think the food tries to make the reader be able to connect with the author/poem, but with the way the entire poem is written, it’s really hard to.

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