I Hear America Singing And I Too Comparison

Topics: United States, African American, Walt Whitman, Race, New Jersey, Racism / Pages: 5 (1132 words) / Published: May 9th, 2017
Many Americans perceive their country differently, whether it appears as the land of freedom and liberty, or the land of oppression and injustice. In the case of modernistic writer Walt Whitman, his poem "I Hear America Singing" expresses America as the land of the hardworking and the humble. He focuses on the idea of the American dream and the specific types of people who are the backbone of this country. On the other hand, the view of another modernistic poet, Langston Hughes, is very different. In his poem "I, Too" he sees America as racist and oppressive to the African American race, but he does have hope that America will change in the future. Despite their differing views of America, Walt Whitman and Langston Hughes use strong literary …show more content…
On one hand, Whitman uses a very proud tone when speaking of his country and the people that it is made up of. He starts off his poem by saying "I hear America singing, the varied carols I hear," and ends the poem with "Singing with open mouths their strong melodious songs." In between these two lines he speaks of the many different occupations of Americans and what their daily work days entail. The "singing" Whitman hears represents the progress, hard work, and daily lives of the American people. In his eyes, he sees his country as humbly hardworking and something that he takes great pride in, however, this perspective could not be any more different than Hughes's. "I, Too" is written in response to Whitman's poem which is why he starts off his poem with the line "I, too, sing America." In his poem, Hughes is trying to emphasize the segregation and racism of his time, whil biting back at Whitman by showcasing that the American dream is truly one-sided. He is also trying to point out that, while America may be diverse, its society is not very accepting of diversity in some aspects, like race. Hughes goes on to tell of how one day he will no longer be banished to the kitchen to eat and that he will be viewed as an equal to whites. Hughes repeats the phrase "When company comes" in both stanzas to give a comparison of his "today" and "tomorrow." This means that while today he is forced to eat elsewhere, in the future he will be accepted and no longer asked to leave the room to eat because of his race. He ends his poem with the line "I, too, am America" to stress the point that while he may possess a different skin color, he still represents the American dream and its ideals just as much as anyone else. Compared to Whitman's proud tone, Hughes uses a very serious, yet hopeful tone to convey his message. In conclusion,

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