What One Sees is not Always What One Gets

&nbsp.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 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 silent and true to the unspoken bonds amongst the young naked men, Walt Whitman introduces a female voice into the poem. This female voice immediately changes the Platonic relationships suggested by him and Eakin into relationships of a sexual nature. The introduction of the word "she" invites the reader to see the naked young men as sexually attractive as they move about in the total ease of their environment. The beauty of the young men’s comfort with themselves and with each other is exclusive to the male world. She can never be part of that beauty for if she joined the group of young males, the beautiful relationships and treatment of each other would immediately change. Whitman is trying to show that a different state of peace and beauty exists amongst the naked young men only when there is no female presence around. a much more intimate and natural beauty which although attractive to the opposite sex is reserved in whole for relationships between men only.

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