For the final project I would like to do a revision of a revision. I’m going to revise my first revision, which was a revision of an essay I wrote on Whitman and Marcuse. In my essay I compared and contrasted Whitman and Marcuse’s views towards art. I argued that Whitman’s form of poetry conflicts with what Marcuse believes art should be. In my final project I would like to take my argument in a different direction. I plan to argue that Whitman, Melville, and Marcuse share many of the same ideas about what the future of America should look like.
I believe that this is a worthy topic to discuss considering how influential and popular these authors are in our society. Many powerful people have read the work of these authors; for instance, Bill Clinton gave a copy of Walt Whitman’s “Leafs of Grass” to Monica Lewinsky. Discussing how these authors view America may give the reader more political insight, and may also help the reader form a better idea of their own political views.
I plan on trimming down my analysis on how Whitman and Marcuse have contrasting views towards art and the role that it plays in our society; instead, I’m going to focus more on Whitman’s poems that show his view towards sexuality, slavery, and religion, and compare his views with Melville’s views by using Ishmael’s relationship with Queequeg. Then I’ll compare the views that Whitman and Melville share with the ideas that Marcuse writes about in “One Dimensional Man.”
I was also thinking about using Marcuse to analyze a book that I read over the summer, “1984” by George Orwell. “1984” depicts a dystopian future where the world is oppressed by oligarchies that control their populations through misinformation and fear. I think that this novel shares some views concerning slavery and sexuality with “Leafs of Grass” and “Moby Dick”, and its political ideas can be compared to Marcuse’s.
Marcuse, Herbert. One-Dimensional Man. Boston: Beacon Press
Marcuse, Herbert. Art as Form of Reality
Melville, Herman. Moby Dick or The Whale, Penguin Group
Orwell, George. Nineteen Eighty-Four, Penguin Group
Whitman, Walt. Song of Myself. Dover Publications