Analysis Of Carl Sandburg’ S Poem “Chicago”

912 words - 4 pages

Carl Sandburg, in his poem Chicago, provides a dynamic and a loutish description with a certain tone of social criticism about the city of Chicago. Throughout the poem, the author makes use of literary devices, such as personification, apostrophe, similes, and repetition, giving the city a human-like representation with an intense personality in a realistic way. Also, the contrast between positive and negative qualities makes his poetry direct and concise which sings the glories and the penalties of the city and its people. His poetry is rich in vocabulary and captures the reader's attention, allowing him to identify the implicit messages within the poem.
The poem begins with five short lines in which Sandburg uses personification to show the reader how important and powerful is this city. He starts describing Chicago as a "Hog Butcher,” “Tool Maker,” and "Stacker of Wheat". By listing the important jobs in Chicago, he pictures a burly and tough city. Even more, when he describes it as “Stormy, husky, brawling,” and “City of the Big Shoulders”(1-5). In the second stanza (6-14), Sandburg uses apostrophe when he speaks directly to the city and starts treating it as a person. (“They tell me you are…”) The use of this literary device gives the reader the impression that the city is pretty alive and is a human with his own personality. Throughout the poem, the reader can find, once again, a several examples of personification that portrays the city in great detail: “Under the smoke, dust all over his mouth, laughing with with teeth” (18). Other literary devices, such as similes, and repetition are employed in the poem. Similes are present on lines 13 and 19 . “Fierce as a dog with tongue lapping for action, cunning as a savage pitted against the wilderness.” “Under the terrible burden of destiny laughing as a young man.” Then, in the last three stanzas, the poem dives into repetition. The word laughing is repeated 9 times, and also the last stanza is the repetition of the first stanza which brings around about ending to the poem. In the beginning, those words are forced to be read in a negative connotation, but at the end, their connotation is positive describing the proud city.
Equally important as the analysis of literary devices is the analysis of the contrast between positive and negative qualities. The diction used by Sandburg precisely connote what he sees in Chicago. Sandburg wants the reader to feel a stronger connection to the poem and to Chicago. The reader can discover this by reading throughout the poem in which the author uses effective series of words to contrast the...

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