I Hear America Singing Essay

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Do the recent events in the United States make you stop and think about the type of people that live and work in our country? Reflecting on poems such as “I Hear America Singing”, by Walt Whitman and “I Too, Sing America”, by Langston Hughes helps us to remember the types of people that have helped America to grow and the hope and optimism the American people value. Both free verse poems use language, imagery, and tone to produce a positive attitude towards being an American and that America is made up of all types of people.

The “I Hear America Singing” is a free verse written poem. Whitman wrote the poem to express the life and culture of America. He uses the singing as a universal act of individuals in a variety of jobs and everyday
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Some poems use rhythm but Whitman and Hughes used free verse in both of these poems. The language used by Whitman included a metaphor where the sounds and action of the people working and comparing it to music. Whitman also used repetition of the word “the” in the last seven sentences to create a form of rhythm to the poem. Hughes used very short lines to give the reader an opportunity to pause between each one. Hughes also used imagery within the poem when he said “I’ll be at the table” symbolizing equality.

The voice of “I Hear America Singing” could be written by an observer of the people and what they are doing. Whereas, in “I, Too, Sing America” is written in the author’s voice.

The tone of Whitman’s poem is joyful and positive. Hughes’ poem has a variety of tones from anger and strength to a positive feeling of being part of the whole.

Reflecting back on both of these poems allows the reader to relate to the importance of being proud of who you are and what you do. It also allows you to appreciate the hopefulness and optimism of living in a free country. Hughes’ reflection of the struggle the African American people had during the country’s civil war shows that optimism would one day allow them to be equal. Whitman’s poem shows that people can be free to do what they want to do and come together in unity to accomplish
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