Analysis Of Walt Whitman 's ' I Hear America Singing ' Essay

Analysis Of Walt Whitman 's ' I Hear America Singing ' Essay

Length: 1418 words (4.1 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Better Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Walt Whitman’s “I Hear America Singing” is a poem about the great working class tradition in the United States in 1860. Whitman depicts working class occupations such as; carpenters, woodmakers, and shoemen as the driving force as well as the backbone of America. The occupations listed were all often done by European immigrants. The lyrics of Whitman’s poem suggest that he is unifying them by repetition of the word singing. However, Whitman noticeably goes through the whole poem without mentioning slavery. Slavery which in 1860 was legal and not abolished until 1865 played a huge factor in the thriving United States economy. In Hughes “I Too” Hughes highlights this and undermines Whitman’s credibility in “I Hear America Singing” for not acknowledging the non-white races in the United States; Hughes writes the poem “I Too” as a slave to correctly depict himself to Whitman, whom Whitman forgets to mention in his poem.
Hughes, In “I Too” begins with the lyrics “I am the darker brother, They send me to eat in the kitchen when company comes.” What is important in this lyric is that it shows Hughes is the writer but not the speaker. “I Too” is spoken from the perspective of a slave speaking on his behalf. Another evident point in believing that the speaker is a slave is that he is told to go into the kitchen when company comes. To stay compliant within segregation laws, slaves were often confined to their slave quarters to stay out of sight from guests. The “They” in this poem who demanded blacks eat in the kitchen were white slave owners who at the time believed blacks were inferior.
Walt Whitman was a poet who was a product of his time. George Hutchinson and David Drews write in their article Racial Attitudes “Concerning people of A...


... middle of paper ...


...esides/ They’ll how beautiful I am/ And be ashamed.” This line of the poem is an absolute huge jab at Walt Whitman. What Langston Hughes is telling Walt Whitman is that he indeed he forgot to mention slavery and African Americans in “I Hear America Singing” and if he were alive today he would be ashamed at himself.
The last line of the poem along with the first line is what ties “I Too” and “I Hear America Singing” together. Hughes writes in his last lines of “I Too” “I, too, am America.” Keeping the first and the last line noticeably similar emphasizing in the first line of the poem to Walt Whitman that he as a black man sings America just as much as any white man. In the last lines Hughes is asserting himself as an important American citizen. Hughes is letting it be known very clear that he and the African America race as a whole feel they to belong in America.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Analysis Of Walt Whitman 's ' I Hear America Singing ' Essay

- Walt Whitman’s “I Hear America Singing” is a poem about the great working class tradition in the United States in 1860. Whitman depicts working class occupations such as; carpenters, woodmakers, and shoemen as the driving force as well as the backbone of America. The occupations listed were all often done by European immigrants. The lyrics of Whitman’s poem suggest that he is unifying them by repetition of the word singing. However, Whitman noticeably goes through the whole poem without mentioning slavery....   [tags: African American, Black people, United States]

Better Essays
1418 words (4.1 pages)

Analysis Of Walt Whitman 's ' Of Grass And Don Delillo 's White Noise ' Essay

- Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass and Don DeLillo’s White Noise were written over a century apart. In that time there was a significant change in the mentality between what it was to be an American and how much of a person’s identity was a part of their nationality. Over time, the American people have created a more negative outlook on society. While Whitman remains more positive and proud of being an American, DeLillo has adapted a more cynical perspective. There are several poems from Walt Whitman’s collection of Leaves of Grass that portray his particular belief in the American identity....   [tags: United States, Walt Whitman, Don DeLillo]

Better Essays
709 words (2 pages)

Analysis Of ' I Hear America Singing ' Essay

- “I, Too” Through Intertextuality Identity Do you know that not one text is an island and every text already written, already read is?. Yes, every text comes from an earlier created text, so new texts are just version. Due this reason, originality is question and hard to defined. Furthermore, in the the poem “I, Too” By Langston Hughes can be efficaciously analyse with intertextuality, and identity theories. To illustrate a new perspective to different audiences about today 's society ideologies on social prejudice and progressivism in the American people....   [tags: Langston Hughes, African American, Discrimination]

Better Essays
1003 words (2.9 pages)

Desired Hope Essay

- The American dream is a dream that everyone hopes to one day achieve. It is what keeps the country going and develops hard workers of many. Langston Hughes’s “I, Too” and Walt Whitman’s “I Hear America Singing” is the epitome of that dream, the poems both demonstrate a certain air of aspiration for the future of America and both of the speakers want change for the better. The poem’s speakers are both men and are of the working class. Even though their jobs may not be desirable and in Hughes’s “I, Too” the speaker may be working against his will, he is still working and they are both adhering with them for that feeling of hope....   [tags: Literary Analysis, Walt Whitman]

Better Essays
1621 words (4.6 pages)

Walt Whitman 's I Hear America Singing Essay

- In "I, Too," Langston Hughes is obviously in conversation with the earlier poem, Walt Whitman 's "I Hear America Singing." Both poems explore the idea of American identity -- who and what is an American. What characterizes the people of this nation. The two poets, however, reach somewhat different conclusions in response to these questions. In "I Hear America Singing," Whitman refers to "the varied carols" of different workers "mechanics", "the carpenter", " the mason", "the boatman" and "the deck man", "the shoemaker" and "the hatter”....   [tags: Walt Whitman, United States, Poetry]

Better Essays
727 words (2.1 pages)

Analysis Of Walt Whitman 's ' Song Of Myself ' Essay

- “Song of Myself” Analysis Contrary to most poets during the nineteenth century, Whitman’s writings do not conform to the conventions of society. His works are written for all walks of life to read in a very accessible manner. In the excerpts from “Song of Myself”, Walt Whitman suggests that he is equivalent in magnitude to the entire American population through shifting points of view to empathize with others and universalizing the grass through an extended metaphor. Whitman creates a sense of democracy where everyone is equal to each other by relating to diverse perspectives and demographics....   [tags: Walt Whitman, United States, Poetry]

Better Essays
757 words (2.2 pages)

Analysis Of Walt Whitman And Emily Dickinson Essay

- The poems by Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson are known to be the cornerstones of American poetry in the way that they view the aspect of life and death. The writers themselves could not have been more different in their poems about these subjects. Walt Whitman has been called by several to be the grandfather of modern day poetry. In his poems he expresses the journey that is to live and to die. Whitman also shows through his work the importance of staying outside of social norms while also expressing yourself in any way that one might see fit....   [tags: Death, Poetry, Walt Whitman, Life]

Better Essays
719 words (2.1 pages)

Walt Whitman And His Work Essay

- Walt Whitman, born in May of 1819, grew up with an affinity for America. Originally from Long Island, New York, Whitman moved to Brooklyn as a child in hopes that his father would find work in the city. However, when that did not happen, his father took Walt out of school in order for him to work and bring in an extra income. Whitman began his working career at age eleven by working in one of Brooklyn’s attorney offices. Shortly afterwards, he began getting involved in the printing business and fell in love with it....   [tags: Ralph Waldo Emerson, Walt Whitman]

Better Essays
1604 words (4.6 pages)

Analysis Of Walt Whitman 's Poem ' Song Of Myself Essay

- Walt Whitman’s Religious Vision Embedded at the Heart of Leaves of Grass as seen through the poem, Song of Myself The poetry in Whitman’s Leaves of Grass is specifically forceful. It was written at a time when Walt Whitman’s personal religious perspective was that he himself was a prophet as stated in his first poem “Song of Myself.” This poem appears in Whitman’s first book Leaves of Grass. Whitman says: “Divine am I and out, and I make holy water whatever I touch or am touched from; / The scent of these armpits is aroma finer than prayer; /This head is more than churches or bibles or creeds” (39).The poet’s deistic belief taught him with an appreciation and affection for this perspective...   [tags: Religion, Faith, Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass]

Better Essays
1083 words (3.1 pages)

Analysis Of Walt Whitman 's ' Song Of Myself Essay

- Darian Williams American Literature II Ms. Dalton July 3, 2016 Analysis Walt Whitman was a very influential poet in his time era. He was very in tune with the world, his surroundings and people which makes him a humanist of his time. The poem Song of Myself has very mystical and profound ideas in this poem in my opinion. It is the type of poem when you read once and read over and over again you will always find something new about it for years to come because it 's so intriguing. Whitman was somebody who was very struck by his experience in the civil war and his thoughts about the world which transferred into his writing....   [tags: Ralph Waldo Emerson, Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass]

Better Essays
1298 words (3.7 pages)