Walt Whitman and Poetry
In his poem, I Hear America Singing, Walt Whitman describes a wide range of themes but one of them which stand out is productivity on work and joy. Productivity in the sense that describes various types of occupations, such as the mechanics, carpenters, masons, and even wives just to mention a few. For instance, Whitman writes, “The shoemaker singing as he sits on his bench, the hatter sings as he stands” (Whitman, 1991). All these people are working to make America great just as the politicians and the lawyers who are often acknowledged did. On the other hand, the theme of joy is symbolized by the presence of music in the poem. The workers are all singing in their different professions which show that they are happy or celebrating. Songs are commonly used to represent joy, happiness, and the like. In rare cases are songs used to depict sorrow in literature. As such the carpenters, the mechanics, masons, and other workers mentioned in Walt Whitman’s poem I Hear America Singing are singing because they are celebrating their work.
Whitman sees America as a nation of hardworking people. In other words, the author sees that America could not be where it is were it not for the different people who worked hard and loved what they did. Whitman is proud of being an American and this has been portrayed by the use of a song to indicate that he is happy. Whitman has basically incorporated a musical tone in the poem.
The poem primarily talks about the working class people who have a lower social status; the masons, the mechanics, the carpenters, the boatman, shoe-makers, wood-cutters, and the housewives. This group of people represents only a certain percent of the Americans but not the entire population. The middle-class people, as well as the rich, have been left out. One of the poets who was famous for his works in 1960 was Langstone Hughes. Hughes ones wrote the poem I Too Sing America that is believed to be the unofficial reply to Whitman’s I Hear America Singing
Whitman, W., & Tracy, L. (1991). I hear America singing. Philomel Books.