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Whitman vs Hughes

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After reading two poems from Walt Whitman and Langston Hughes, you can see that Whitman speaks about and based his poem on the employed people, working and enjoying their jobs. In contrast Langston Hughes focuses more on the other unemployed people having no jobs while maintaining optimism. Therefore, Walt Whitman’s “I Hear America Singing” and Langston Hughes’ “I, too, Sing America” present American way of life in two different prospective. Walt Whitman’s poem, “I Hear America Singing” is different from Langston Hughes’ poem because he focuses on the people working at everyday jobs. He uses the word “singing” to symbolize appreciation and pride in their professions. For example, he says the carpenter is “singing his as he measures his plant or beam.“ This means that the carpenter along with the other people love doing what they do at their jobs. The only time in the poem where the people literally sing “with open mouths” is during night when everyone’s off work. Furthermore, Whitman’s poem also differs from Hughes’ because he lists occupations, making his poem a catalog poem. He lists from shoemakers making shoes, masons building with stones to mechanics working with machines. Walt Whitman is able to convince people that America is a perfect place where every one is accepted by showing all these people working and singing, loudly together. Unlike Walt Whitman, Langston Hughes shows the reality of America and that not everyone is accepted or have jobs but he remains very optimistic. For instance, in “I, too, Sing America.“ he says that he’ll “laugh, and eat well, and grow strong” even if he is forced to go “eat in the kitchen when company comes” because one day the people who ever doubted him will see how “beautiful” he really is and will “be ashamed” for he, too, is America. Langston Hughes knows that America is not perfect but still stays positive. He uses the word “tomorrow” to symbolize the future. He says that “tomorrow” he will be eating at the table when company comes and no one will tell him to go “eat in the kitchen.” This shows Hughes’ optimism on life and he is sure that one day in the future, people will see how successful he can be and how he is part of America too. Although both poets have many differences, they have some similarities too. Both poems were written in free verse. There was no specific rhyme scheme or format. Also, Hughes along with Whitman love America. Whitman claims to “hear America singing the varied carols” and Langston Hughes states that he “too, am America.” This means that Whitman takes notice of the Americans “singing” out loud to show how proud they are to be part of America. Langston Hughes includes himself as an American. He also represents and encourages the unemployed people by staying positive and that one day they, too, can unite and show people they can be just as good as them. To sum it up, there were similarities along with differences among the two poems. They differ because Langston Hughes zooms in on the unemployed people while Walt Whitman keeps his focus on the employed people of America. They are similar in that both poets have a love for America and are proud to be apart of it. Despite everyone‘s differences, maybe one day all of America will sing loudly and proudly together.

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