Walt Whitman 's I Hear America Singing Essay

Walt Whitman 's I Hear America Singing Essay

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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”. Whitman includes workers of both genders, listing "the mother,"the young wife at work," and "the girl sewing or washing". These Americans at work are "singing what belongs to him or her and to none else," The have a sense of pride for what they can do and for the skills of which they hold. Whitman, on the other hand, identifies each person with his or her task; the work is what defines the person here. Whitman only allows the entitlements these works be their name and voice.

Whitman 's various examples seem to be meant to cover many professio...

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