Leaves of Glass: Breaking Bad's Walt Whitman fixation, and 'Ozymandias' deconstructed

At Poetry Magazine, TV critic Kera Bolonik answers the questions, "how does Walter White compare to Walt Whitman? And what cynical commentary on our times, on humanity, does series creator Vince Gilligan make with this subversive pairing?"

Some snippets from her answers:

• "When I Heard the Learn'd Astronomer" is, among other things, a declaration of disillusionment with convention, and of liberation, of emerging from the passive seat and propelling oneself into the world to participate and engage with it.

Like Whitman, [White] is large; he contains multitudes.

Both are intellectual pioneers in their fields, their legacies—centuries apart—demanding risk, casting them outside of society, gliding out into the world, liberated from societal constraints.

Both strove for perfection in their creations.

Both had been teachers.

Read the full article here.

Poetry Magazine also has a poem guide for "Ozymandias" (a sonnet that 'has outlasted empires,' as scholar David Mikics puts it) which may help to illuminate the coming season. As Breaking Bad fans know, the poem was featured in a final-episodes trailer here.