Carl Sandburg's View of Language Essay

Carl Sandburg's View of Language Essay

Length: 1032 words (2.9 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Strong Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Carl Sandburg's View of Language

Carl Sandburg's poem Languages is a poem about how languages can change over time. On the surface level, it compares the evolution of language to the formation of a river. At the same time, however, it makes a statement on why languages are difficult to label and mark. The lines dividing languages blur very easily.

Languages

There are no handles upon a language
Whereby men take hold of it
And mark it with signs for its remembrance.
It is a river, this language,
Once in a thousand years
Breaking a new course
Changing its way to the ocean.
It is mountain effluvia
Moving to valleys
And from nation to nation
Crossing borders and mixing.
Languages die like rivers.
Words wrapped round your tongue today
And broken to shape of thought
Between your teeth and lips speaking
Now and today
Shall be faded hieroglyphics
Ten thousand years from now.
Sing-and singing-remember
Your song dies and changes
And is not here tomorrow
Any more than the wind
Blowing ten thousand years ago

The first three lines of the poem talk about how man has no firm grip on language. It is clearly not a physical thing to be grasped, and it cannot be marked as such. There is an attachment between men and language, but it is not clear. This may be a statement on the many different languages humans speak. It may not be clear when a language has completely changed into something different, or when it is merely a different dialect. It is hard to tell where the boundaries are, which is why it is described as having no handles for men to take hold of and mark it with signs for its remembrance. These difficulties arise because exactly what makes a language is difficult to determine. Sometimes it can be...


... middle of paper ...


...guage dies.

In its entirety, this poem describes how a language can evolve or die, and how things said in this language can change or die with it. Boundaries between languages may not be clear. Like rivers they can travel close together, or merge completely. All languages, however, act as rivers. They start at a source and travel. They then travel, merge, or fade away. Upon closer examination, the poem also says why languages are difficult to label. The reason is that they change with time. The English language of today is not the same English language spoken hundreds of years ago. As all languages evolve similarly, this applies to all languages. Subtle changes in gestures, writing, or spoken language eventually add up. After a long enough period of time it is as though an entirely new language has formed, but kept the same name as the previous language.

Need Writing Help?

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

Check your paper »

The And The Four Brothers By Carl Sandburg Essay

- You Are What You Live Wars have existed ever since the beginning of civilisation. They are usually the result of selfless acts portrayed by humans in order to obtain some sort of new territory or political power. Historical events such as wars affect the lives of many people including writers or artists like Carl Sandburg, the famous poet who wrote the poems “Boes” and “The Four Brothers” in an attempt to express what he felt in the after math of the Spanish-American War and during World War I....   [tags: World War II, World War I, Veteran, Carl Sandburg]

Strong Essays
1137 words (3.2 pages)

Essay on Carl Sandburg and How He was Influenced by Walt Whitman

- Carl Sandburg and How He was Influenced by Walt Whitman Carl Sandburg and Walt Whitman had very similar lives. They both came from working class families and neither one of them went to high school or graduated college. They learned from watching people and by reading books on their own. They both had a certain sense for the world that made them able to see what was going on around them and grasp its significance. Although Whitman was born sixty years before Sandburg there were still a lot of the same things happening in America and they both picked up on one important factor of the time, that of the average working class man....   [tags: Carl Sandburg Walt Whitman Essays]

Strong Essays
1377 words (3.9 pages)

The Legacy of Carl Sandburg Essay

- What brings into existence any great work of literature. Is it a natural gift, artistic vision, dumb luck, or a little bit of all three. As I was writing this paper I tried to keep that question in mind. As I was researching the author, Carl Sandburg, of the poem “Chicago” I decided to try to understand his work I needed to meet four criteria of knowledge of his past and background, literary terms used, a common element shared by him and the poem, and my immediate responses to his work. The first criteria I want to go through is the common element shared by both the author and the poem, particularly the effects of the Industrial Revolution and the gap between the richest and poorest of the...   [tags: industrial revolution, literature]

Strong Essays
1915 words (5.5 pages)

Carl Sandburg's Use of Allusion in Grass Essay

- Carl Sandburg's Use of Allusion in "Grass" Carl Sandburg's short poem "Grass" represents a metaphor for the disguise of history. The persona tells how histories that have taken place are sooner or later disregarded. The persona tells that the histories should not be disregarded, but be left the way it is as cited in the poem "I am the grass .Let me work." People should notice the events that took place and learn from their mistakes and be better people. The places that are mentioned in the poem are allusions....   [tags: Poetry Sandburg Poem Grass Essays]

Strong Essays
556 words (1.6 pages)

Pride in Chicago by Carl Sandburg Essay examples

- Pride: we can take it in what we do, who we are, and what we’ve overcome. In Carl Sandburg’s “Chicago” he writes about the criticism and judgment that comes at his city, Chicago, and her laborers. The theme he portrays in his poem is that people can be proud no matter what they do, where they live, and what people think of him/her. He illustrates this theme through, word choice, imagery, and relational shifts throughout the poem. First of all, the poem tells us the thesis stated through word choice....   [tags: word choice, imagery, relational, poem]

Strong Essays
837 words (2.4 pages)

Analysis Of Carl Sandburg 's ' Chicago Essay

- Carl Sandburg’s poem, Chicago, gives a rough and rugged sense to the reader about Chicago. Masculinity flows throughout most of the poem, whereas women are portrayed as weak. In contrary, Gina Frangello shows the strength of women in her short story Slut Lullabies. She is able to show us the power of women and how the main character is able to push past any challenge as well as many stereotypes about women. Also, within that story, she gives examples of how ignorant men are because they do not understand what consequences their actions may bring....   [tags: Gender role, Gender, Woman, Man]

Strong Essays
1087 words (3.1 pages)

Carl Sandburg 's Use Of Literary Devices Essay

- Carl Sandburg’s Use of Literary Devices Carl Sandburg has been captivating reader’s attention since his first published poem in 1920’s(Baym 763). Sandburg understood the powerful use that literary devices play in literary works. He was known for using these devices to connect with readers, and implementing deeper themes into his works. He is one of the most famous poets for using these techniques. Nina Baym wrote that “Sandburg believed that the people themselves, rather than a cadre of intellectuals acting on behalf of the people, would ultimately shape their own destiny”(763)....   [tags: Fiction, Literature, Poetry, Literary genre]

Strong Essays
1157 words (3.3 pages)

Essay on Chicago: The Legacy Of Carl Sandburg

- Chicago: The Legacy of Carl Sandburg Carl Sandburg may be one of our most influential poets in American history, he knew the American working man and his necessities. Sandburg used his poetry to explicate to the economy how life is, can, and could be. Carl Sandburg was born in Galesburg, Illinois January 6, 1878 to Swedish immigrant parents with the names of August and Clara Johnson. His family was extremely poor. Carl left school at the age of thirteen to work odd jobs from bricklaying to dish washing to earn money to support the family....   [tags: essays research papers]

Strong Essays
1092 words (3.1 pages)

Carl Sandberg's "Grass" Essay

- Carl Sandberg’s poem “Grass” is about the remembering of the mistakes of the past and fixing them so they wont hurt our future generations. Sandberg first published this poem in 1918, which is right in the middle of World War 1. His voice on death is strong in this poem probably because there has been countless times of people die during the world and he is getting tired of hearing about it. I believe that this poem was not written in the form it is on purpose and that there is a strong reason for why it is....   [tags: Poetry Analysis]

Strong Essays
677 words (1.9 pages)

Carl Sandburg Essay

- Carl Sandburg Carl Sandburg was born in Galesburg, Illinois on January 6, 1878. Carl and his family lived in a three room cottage at 313 East Third Street in Galesburg, Illinois. His parent’s names were August and Clara Anderson Sandburg. Sandburg’s nickname was Charlie. His parents were both Swedish immigrants. His Dad worked for a blacksmith in Chicago. Sandburg did not have much of an education because he quit school at the age of thirteen. His favorite subject in school was geography....   [tags: essays research papers]

Strong Essays
993 words (2.8 pages)