For some readers, Whitman's turning to traditional poetic diction "thee," "thou," "seest" is disappointing.
However, as Reynolds notes, Whitman was not entirely comfortable with America's growing materialism. The poet then becomes the spiritual heir of Columbus.
In section 8, Whitman describes the beauty of the Manhattan harbor, the sunset on the river, the seagulls, and the twilight. Who wrote this essay? The last major poem of Whitman's career, "Passage to India" celebrates the achievement of material science and industry, but the poem merely used these physical forms to accomplish what he termed the "unfolding of cosmic purposes" Traubel When citing an essay from our library, you can use "Kibin" as the author.
Part of that integration must entail an account of the past, a time in which previous explorers, like Columbus, failed. Betsy Erkkila sees in the poem the same repudiation of materialistic values as it "leaps" toward spiritual transcendence, but she sees also a reconciliation of materialism and spiritualism in the figure of Columbus.
Thus, at the end of the poem, Whitman addresses himself to material objects, which are also part of the life process because they are useful to man.