Work, Whitman, And Wonderful America Essay

980 words - 4 pages

The poem “I Hear America Singing” has the literal meaning of Americans working hard while singing a song of freedom. The two symbols used in this poem are the songs sang by the Americans, which represent freedom, and individuals, which represent America. While the poem has a straight-forward main idea and symbols, the theme is hidden in the blue, and requires a little analysis to unearth. The main theme is that work is essential, and this ties in with work ethics and how each individual should work; however, another strong theme is individuality, which is portrayed in the poem by the workers, who each have their own song. Walt Whitman makes use of constant rhythm, symbolic imagery, and stylistic sound devices to reinforce the theme that work is essential.
The poem “I Hear America Singing” has the literal meaning of Americans working hard while singing a song of freedom. The two symbols used in this poem are the songs sang by the Americans, which represent freedom, and individuals, which represent America. While the poem has a straight-forward main idea and symbols, the theme is hidden in the blue; therefore, it requires a little analysis to unearth. The main theme is that work is essential, thus this ties in with work ethics and how each individual should work; however, another tenacious theme is individuality, which is portrayed in the poem by the workers, who each have their own song. Walt Whitman makes use of constant rhythm, symbolic imagery, and stylistic sound devices to reinforce the theme that work is essential.
Whitman creates a constant rhythm by using repetition and parallel structures throughout his poem, “I Hear America Singing.” The repetition is created by similar structured beginnings in the lead-in to each worker and repeated description of people working. The repetition adds to the effect that work is daily to many Americans, especially work that require manual labor. The parallel structures are very prominent in the poem, and it is protuberant when juxtaposed to other literary techniques used due to the similar sounding sentences that are in the pattern of “article subject verb.” These parallel structures create a feeling that work is constant. The work has been constant since Whitman’s time, and Whitman tries to reinforce his idea that work is essential by using these literary devices to prove his point-of-view. The constant rhythm is in the lines where symbolic imagery occurs, thus the constant rhythm bolsters the imagery that all the workers are working hard even though the jobs are arduous.
The symbolic imagery is used to have a slight effect on the poem and its theme; however, the imagery is a big component of what justifies the theme. First of all, the imagery depicts individuals working first-rate, and this is also described with the mentioning of the individual arias that each worker sings....

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