John Henry Research Paper

770 Words4 Pages
John Henry is the main character known as Hammerman. Hammerman is considered to be part of the oral tradition category. John Henry is presented as a ballad to be sung, whereas Hammerman was written as a story to be read. Hammerman was a black worker, in the 1870’s, who helped build the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad. John Henry was born and raised to become a steel-driving man. He wanted to touch and play with a hammer ever since he was born. As he got older and stronger, John was able to work with most hammers. Once the war has ended, John was allowed to travel wherever he wanted. For John that was “where the trains go”. After deciding what he wanted to do with the rest of his life, John told his family and friends about a dream he had had.…show more content…
People from the area went and watch John compete. Li’l Willie was working with John. John would be working non-stop, and only taking small breaks to ask Willie how he was doing. In the beginning, John was behind. He asked for one more hammer because he was only “warming up” with one. He was able to work a lot faster, and get a lot more done. After a while the machine broke down, so a new one had to be made. That gave John a great opportunity to catch up. Once the new machine was working, John was ahead. John’s dream slowly because true as he hit a spike with his hammer. Sparks would fly through the air. As the last ten minutes approached, John Henry focused on his hammer only. Willie would ask how John was doing, and he wouldn’t answer. The crowd cheered John on. Polly was clapping until her hands hurt, and Willie was singing his heart out. Cap’n Tommy blew his gun signaling that he competition was over. John stopped and heard the loud cheers of the crowds. The judges went to measure the depth of the holes drilled by John and the steam engine. Cap’n Tommy went over to John, and told him he had beat the machine by four feet. As Tommy and John reached for a good handshake, John fell on his back. He looked up at the mountain, and told Polly and Willie that he was a little tired. Willie offered to sing to John Henry, but John said. “I got a song in my own heart, thank you, Li’l Willie.” Before John Henry laid back and closed his eyes forever he said, “I was a steel driving
Open Document