Both Thomas Eakins famous painting "The Swimming Hole" and Section #11 of Walt Whitman's "Song of Myself," dive headlong into a silently approving observation of a group of young naked men relaxing together on a riverbank. Although poem and painting both address the relationships that exist between young men of like mind and like age, only Thomas Eakin's painting remains silent throughout.
The painter is attempting to capture the lighthearted and innocent relationships that exist naturally amongst young and unabashed males. Eakins conveys to the viewer the sheer beauty of the naked male body, in an environment regularly unseen and rarely disclosed to the public.
In verse #11 of Walt Whitman's "Song of Myself" the author conveys that same deep appreciation for the beauty of the naked male body. Whitman also addresses the unspoken bond that clearly exists between young, naked men washing themselves in the water off the riverbank. "Twenty-eight young men bathe by the shore, Twenty-eight young men and all so friendly (Whitman #11)." Whitman's glimpse into the male world reveals young men shedding social protocols along with their clothes, and slipping effortlessly into a natural state of comradery and friendship rarely seen in societal circles. Alone with only each other the young men momentarily forgo the rules of propriety and simply exist in a completely natural state. "They do not ask who seizes fast to them,they do not know who puffs and declines, they do not think whom they spouse with spray (Whitman #11)." Amongst other like males the men are free to just "be."
The major difference between the two works is that while Thomas Eakin keeps sil ...