Whitman and Hughes

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Suzy Chen
3/5/13
D-Block American Literature
Poem comparison

The poems “I hear America Singing” by Walt Whitman and “I, Too, Sing America” by Langston Hughes both use singing to convey a very strong message of unity and equality for all Americans. In “I hear America Singing,” Whitman refers to workers with different jobs who are united by “singing” their own songs. Whitman says “the delicious singing of the mother or of the young wife at work or of the girl sewing or washing.” This shows that no matter who they are and what they do, workers are united because they are all singing for America. They constitute America, and they all sing/work to bring prosperity to their country. These people may come from different countries and backgrounds, but the virtue of America unites them together. Langston Hughes' poem is often seen as a response to Walt Whitman's. While Whitman's singers are the individual workers of America, Hughes’ singers are Americans as a whole. In “I, Too, Sing America,” Hughes discusses about racial differences and inequality. Hughes believed that racism would disappear one day by saying, “Tomorrow, I’ll sit at the table.” One day, black people will sit at the same table as white people sit and white people will be ashamed of their racism. When Hughes says “I, Too, Sing America,” he notes that black people are also part of America and they are no different from white people. Thus, everyone should be treated equally to all other Americans, regardless of his skin color.
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