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Walt Whitman: Examining Portraiture

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Language Arts And English +3

This teacher's guide provides portraits and analysis questions to enrich students' examination of Walt Whitman, an American poet, essayist, and journalist. Includes the video "Defining Portraiture: How are portraits both fact and fiction?" and the National Portrait Gallery's "Reading" Portraiture Guide for Educators, both of which provide suggestions and questions for analyzing portraiture.  Also includes "A Close, Intimate Look at Walt Whitman," an article about the final portrait in this collection that may be used as a lesson extension.

Consider:

  • What do these portraits have in common? How are they different?
  • How are these portraits both fact and fiction?
  • How do these portraits reflect how he wanted to be seen, or how others wanted him to be seen? Consider for what purpose these portraits were created.
  • Having read one of his poems, does the portrait capture your image of Walt Whitman? Why, or why not?
  • If you were creating your own portrait of Walt Whitman, what characteristics would you emphasize, and why?

Keywords: new york, ny, leaves of grass, humanist, writer

Walt Whitman

National Portrait Gallery

Walt Whitman

National Portrait Gallery

Walt Whitman

National Portrait Gallery

Walt Whitman

National Portrait Gallery

Walt Whitman

National Portrait Gallery

Walt Whitman

National Portrait Gallery