First of all, the poem tells us the thesis stated through word choice. Initially, the poem tells they’re theme through vile words that are not very pleasant to show what other people think of them. The reader says in the poem, “ And they tell me you are crooked and I answer: Yes, it is true/I have seen gunman kill and go free to kill again./And they tell me you are brutal and my reply is: On the faces/Of women and children I have seen the marks of wanton /hunger” (Sandburg 9-13). The words that grab you, the more vile words like, wanton hunger, gunman, kill, brutal, etc, they show the disgust that other people have pegged on him and his city. Another way the literature represents the theme with word choice is through proud word choice. It reads “And having answered so I turn once more to those who sneer/at this my city, and I give them back the sneer and say to/ them:/Come and show me another city with lifted head singing so/ proud to be alive and coarse and strong and cunning.” (Sandburg 14-18). Many of the words in these lines are prideful, showing that the people in this city don’t care about what other people think of them. Subsequently, Carl sandburg uses stark and bold words to show his city is as rough as wild animal. “Bareheaded,/Shoveling,/Wrecking,/Planning,/Building, breaking, rebuilding,” ...
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...g writes, “THEY TELL me you are wicked and I believe them/ And they tell me you are crooked and I answer: Yes/ And they tell me you are brutal/Laughing the stormy, husky, brawling laughter of youth, half-naked, sweating, proud to be hog butcher, tool maker, stacker of wheat, Player with railroads and Freight Handler to the Nation.”(Sandburg 6-41). The attitude in the poem changes from the beginning of the speaker admitting to faults, to standing proud of the imperfection of his city.
To reiterate, Carl Sandburg, wrote this poem, to express that though his city has faults and gets judged, the people in the city are proud of their roughness and backbones. The author proves this theme through word choice, imagery, and shifts throughout this poem. Possibly what Sandburg was getting at is that you got to be proud with what you got, what you have to do, and who you are.
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