The shift in literature in the late 1800s had developed a new outlook on what people would find to be beautiful. It would appear to be desirable to people to observe someone who has worked hard or endured a hardships for glory or greater good. One could say that this is well promoted in Walt Whitman’s Beauty.

“…Not the soldiers trim in handsome uniforms marching off to sprightly music with measured step but the remnant returning thinned out…”

This speaks to me as a before & after arrangement. The soldier is trained, nicely trimmed, and in an untouched, perfect uniform. Afterwards is a war-torn soldier who has been “thinned out” of his original self, leaving his remaining image.

“…Not the beautiful flag with stainless white, spangled with silver & gold but the old rag just adhering to the staff, in tatters–the remnant of many battle-fields…”

The repetition of “remnant” reminds me of this unique concept of beauty. It is a distinction referring to the beauty of what remains. Normally, in a time of war, disparity, &/or other sorts of suffering, something that remains can be looked at as ugly or mangled visually. Yet, it is when the thing that remains is upholding its good essence after such abuse, that we see it to be beautiful. Even when it’s something that is so subtle that it is ignored by the general public, that thing, place, or idea can be admired and appreciated by one or few; not for reasons that are intentionally/artificially composed to create a specific picture/image/reasoning, but for what time and effort the object has been put through, what had events naturally formed around it [or formed it], what it stands for in essence.

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