Jazz Fantasia Analysis

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Inspired by the emerging musical genre of jazz in the 1920s, “Jazz Fantasia” by Carl Sandburg is an organic, lyric poem that describes the two opposing views of the transpiring genre. One side is boisterous and optimistic, while the other is somber and slow. Sandburg utilizes elements such as shifting tones, various forms of figurative language, and vivid auditory devices to display the differences between these two opposing sides and ultimately show that both sides are necessary to balance each other to create the final product of jazz.
In “Jazz Fantasia,” Sandburg expresses his thoughts and feelings about jazz as the speaker of the poem by using highly impassioned tones. He begins with an urgent tone, telling the jazzmen to, “Drum on your drums, batter on your banjoes, / ...Go to it, O jazzmen” , and immediately shifts to using more relaxed and luxurious wording by saying, “Sling your knuckles on the bottoms of the happy tin pans, let your / trombones ooze…” This instant shift in tone intimates toward the clear
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Sandburg opens his poem with a line of alliteration, saying, “Drum on your drums, batter on your banjoes” He also uses onomatopoeia to imitate the musical sounds often found in jazz music, stating, “...let your / trombones ooze, and go husha-husha-hush with the slippery / sandpaper” Sandburg appeals to the reader’s senses to set the mood and atmosphere of the poem while actively engaging the reader in a realistic image. He repeats the use of onomatopoeia to reach its climax, starting with, “...bang-bang!...” Conversely, Sandburg slows the poem to its conclusion when he ends with, “...now a Mississippi steamboat pushes up the night river with a hoo-hoo-hoo-oo…” By utilizing both onomatopoeia and alliteration in opposite scenarios, Sandburg accentuates the balance between both views of jazz that he conveys in the

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