An Analytical Comparison of "I Hear America Singing" and "I, Too:

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An Analytical Comparison of “I Hear America Singing” and “I, Too” Born ten years after the death of Walt Whitman, there was no possible way for Langston Hughes to ever meet or communication with Whitman, but that did not mean Hughes could not establish a connection to him, or at least his work. In 1925, Hughes wrote a poem titled “I, Too” was inspired by and directed in response to the poem “I Hear America Singing”, which was composed by Whitman much earlier. Whitman’s poem consisted of a variety of different American laborers who “sing” as they do their jobs. This well-known poem never specifically addresses the ethnicity of these singing laborers of the American population, but Hughes sets about to rectify that omission. Walt Whitman is sometimes considered a pioneer of free verse and non-esoteric subject matter with focus on the working-class using realistic imagery. Whitman’s poem “I Hear America Singing” demonstrates no end rhyme, but we hear a sense of melody in his repetitions and rhythm in the length of his lines that substitutes for the pattern we would expect to perceive in conventional poetry. Though beyond that we can tell that the tone of the poem is muscular, its beat vibrant, and its mood proud. Each tradesman in the poem performs his labor with the same pride and triumph that one might hear from a singer. There is no promotion of importance attached to the jobs performed or the performers who carry out those jobs. In the end of the poem he mentions the inclusion of female voice with “delicious singing” (10) along with “the young wife at work, or of the girl sewing or washing” (10-11). With attention to include both sexes, Whitman seems to be taking in all aspects of America’s working class, but it has been drawn out many times that this poem does not specifically detail African-Americans as part of the cluster. It is this detail that Hughes believed should have been incorporated and led to his follow-up poem, “I, Too”. As Langston Hughes was...
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