‘I Hear America Singing’ & ‘I, too, sing America’
Two visions of America are given in this commentary, one by Walt Whitman, considered as American’s first modern poet, and the other by Langston Hughes, a black poet. With an one-Century interval, things didn’t evolve for some people. What’s the link between the two texts while they’re so different ?
Our first concern will be the patrioticvision of America. Then we will discuss about the hidden face of America. We will finally turn to the comparison between these two America.
I. Patriotic vision of America
In America, working class sings while their job. Walt Whitman describes it in a free verse poem. Besides, he’s declared as the pioneer of this writing, and also known as America’s fisrt poet of democraty. In fact, in1860, he chose to write an American epic, in the collection Leaves of Grass, which this text is extracted. He used a realistic imagery to focus on the working class democracy. As a starting point, we shall examine the important place of the work, and we’ll then discuss about the America song, as a symbol.
1. The important place of the work
At first, this 13-lines poem iscomposed of 2 stanzas, one with 12 lines, and the other with 1 line. Moreover, it’s made up only one sentence, and several emjambements are used, on line 4, 6, 9, 11 and 13. It’s written in free verse, which explain the irregular line endings, and with a current langage. The employed tone is optimistic and lively. As can be seen on line 2, theirs songs are ‘blithe and strong’ and music is something,which can gather many people together.
Then the poet is the only speaker, as it is shown by the use of the pronoun ‘I’, at the first line. He brings out the title by a repetition in the opening line. With that, he puts in front that he want to listen. Himself, he is not implied in.
As often in a free verse poem, there are not any rhyme scheme, and anymeterical patterns as in conventional poem. However, the rhythm is given through the use of other poetic device, such as assonance, alliteration and repetitions. In the poem, there is one alliteration on line 5 ‘the boatman singing what belongs to him in his boat..’, and one assonance, on the -ing sound. In addition, the word ‘singing’ is employed 11 times, almost each line, and on line 5 and 7, eventwice. There is also a repetitive form with ‘The’ and the job then ‘singing’, on line 3 to line 7, so that gives a work rhythm.
To emphasize this, the main lexical fields are the work with ‘carpenter’ (line 3), ‘mason’, ‘work’ (line 4), ‘boatman’, ‘deckhand’ (line 5), ‘shoemaker’, ‘hatter’ (line 7), ‘wood-cutter’, ‘ploughboy’ (line 8), ‘sewing’ (line 10), ‘washing’ (line 11) and thesong with ‘singing’, ‘carols’ (line 1), ‘melodious songs’ (line 13).
The poet uses also a synecdoche, on line 1, with ‘America’, which corresponds to all individual Americans, and specifically workers. With that, the poem describes each American worker, with a different job, sings during his every working day. So it means that they enjoy working. With all the songs, there is one,which creates: the America song. That’s what we’ll going to talk about in the second part.
2. The America song used as a symbol
All the jobs, quoted in the first part, have in common the creation. The workers create something, as for instance ‘the carpenter’, on line 3, ‘the shoemaker’, on line 7. And here the poet makes the link between the song and the work, by using ametaphor. On line 1, America, which refers to American workers, as said in the first part, is compared to ‘various carols’, so this is about the music. Therefore, they create together a great civilization, consequently a beautiful song, as is shown by the adjective ‘melodious’, on line 13.
Moreover, jobs evocated here are also physicals, it means that even if the job is painfull, workers are more...
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