Glimmer Of Hope Essay

1332 words - 5 pages

In the darkest of places, the hardest of times, or the lowest of lows, hope can always be found. “Hope Is a Tattered Flag,” by Carl Sandburg, illustrates where hope can be found, even when it seems like all is lost. This optimistic poem focuses on the depth of hope and the many aspects of life in which it lies. The setting of the work is in America amid a time of depression and hardship during the 1930s. In these trying times, all people were struggling to find their own gleam of hope anywhere they could. Sandburg speaks to every class of people, especially appealing to the common man who faced the most hardships during this time, with his unrhymed and simple writing style. He uses images of familiar places such as steel mills and salesrooms to speak to the working class citizens, and displays simple symbols of hope that can be found in these places. Also, the poem uses specific word choices, allusions, and metaphors to further depict the symbols of hope encountered in the poem. Sandburg incorporates the concept of hope with the instability of America during the 1930s with the use of vivid imagery, word choice and a writing style of free-verse to convey his theory of hope throughout the poem.
Carl Sandburg was born on January 6, 1878, in Galesburg, Illinois. In his early years of schooling, he only advanced as far as the eighth grade before having to leave school to help support his family by working many different jobs that included brick laying and shining shoes. After working a variety of jobs, Sandburg traveled as a hobo until enlisting in the military when the Spanish-American War broke out in 1898. When he returned from the war, he went back to school at Lombard College, which was the place where he first learned of his love for poetry and the satisfaction he felt seeing his writing printed in college publications. Sandburg joined the Poor Writers’ Club at Lombard, which was an organization that met to analyze and criticize poetry. He had a unique view on politics and literature due to his travels and hardships, but it was Lombard who changed and shaped his views that reflect in his poetry. Through the Poor Writers’ Club, he met Philip Green Wright, a teacher who mentored Sandburg, influenced his writing styles, and helped him print his first three volumes of poetry in 1904 and 1905. After school, Sandburg found a job as a journalist for the Chicago Daily News and continued this career until more of his poetry was discovered and published in a magazine called Poetry in 1914. This led to more publications of Sandburg’s major works that consisted of four volumes of poetry, a book of children’s stories, and his landmark biography of Abraham Lincoln, published in 1926. His phenomenal collections of poetry allowed him to win two Pulitzer Prizes before his death on July 22, 1967.
Carl Sandburg sets the scene of his poem during the depression of the 1930s in America. The Depression was a time where finding hope in many peoples’ daily...

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