Corinna 10-22-12

When I first was assigned Walt Whitman’s poem Crossing Brooklyn Ferry, I was amazed at how long a poem about a ferry ride could be.  However, once I started reading, not only could I understand how, but I was also able to relate.  First off, when Whitman says, “Crowds of men and women attired in the usual costumes, how curious you are to me” (Pg. 24 stanza 2), it reminded me so much of my rides on trains and buses.  I have always taken public transportation to get to school or wherever else I had to go, and what helps the ride become less dreadful and long is watching the people around me. I am so interested in these strangers and even try to figure out what their stories are and/or the type of people they are.  Another thing we share, to my surprise, is the wonder of how many people will get on and off the train or bus I’m riding, just like Whitman does with the ferry.  In addition, his comment, “It avails not, time nor place—distance avails not, I am with you, you men and women of a generation, ever so many generations hence…” (Pg. 25 stanza 2), brings a feeling of comfort to me as well.  His suggestion that we are all alike makes me feel less alone.

It seems that the purpose of this poem is to shed light on the idea that all people share a bond.  Whitman even takes it a step further and talks about how people are similar emotionally.  He starts off talking about the bad person he once was and all the bad things he used to do.  This is probably relatable to most people because, for the most part, all people at some point in their lives have done things that they were not proud of.  What I like most about this poem is the amount of honesty that exists.  He says things that most people would think twice about saying out loud. Besides his talk about the person he once was and his extreme curiosity, he discusses his negative views on people when he says, “Appearances, now or henceforth, indicate what you are…” (Pg. 33 stanza 2).