Pride In Chicago By Carl Sandburg

1032 words - 5 pages

Pride: we can take it in what we do, who we are, and what we’ve overcome. In Carl Sandburg’s “Chicago” he writes about the criticism and judgment that comes at his city, Chicago, and her laborers. The theme he portrays in his poem is that people can be proud no matter what they do, where they live, and what people think of him/her. He illustrates this theme through, word choice, imagery, and relational shifts throughout the poem.

First of all, the poem tells us the thesis stated through word choice. Initially, the poem tells they’re theme through vile words that are not very pleasant to show what other people think of them. The reader says in the poem, “ And they tell me you are crooked and I answer: Yes, it is true/I have seen gunman kill and go free to kill again./And they tell me you are brutal and my reply is: On the faces/Of women and children I have seen the marks of wanton /hunger” (Sandburg 9-13). The words that grab you, the more vile words like, wanton hunger, gunman, kill, brutal, etc, they show the disgust that other people have pegged on him and his city. Another way the literature represents the theme with word choice is through proud word choice. It reads “And having answered so I turn once more to those who sneer/at this my city, and I give them back the sneer and say to/ them:/Come and show me another city with lifted head singing so/ proud to be alive and coarse and strong and cunning.” (Sandburg 14-18). Many of the words in these lines are prideful, showing that the people in this city don’t care about what other people think of them. Subsequently, Carl sandburg uses stark and bold words to show his city is as rough as wild animal. “Bareheaded,/Shoveling,/Wrecking,/Planning,/Building, breaking, rebuilding,” (Sandburg 24-28). These words are used to tell the reader that Chicago means business and that it is not to be understated. To conclude, “Chicago” uses different kind of words to make the reader feel different things.

Likewise to word choice, the poem projects a lot of imagery, allowing the reader to interpret in their head what the city feels like. For instance, “Chicago” suggests images of the working class inside the poem, which is a lot of the population there. The text reads “Hog Butcher for the World,/Tool Maker, Stacker of Wheat,/Player with Railroads and the Nation’s Freight Handler;/ Stormy, husky, brawling,/ City of the Big Shoulders:” (Sandburg 1-5). This text shows that Chicago is made up of workers that carry the nation through gritty jobs. Also, the poem uses unfavorable images to depict some of the wrong stuff that goes on in the city, And what the speaker says about them. Sandburg writes, “ THEY TELL me you are wicked and I believe them/ And they tell me you are crooked and I answer: Yes:/And they tell me you are crooked and I answer: Yes, it is true/I have seen gunman kill and go free to kill again./And they tell me you are brutal...

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