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Poems: I, too, sing America by Langston Hughes & I hear America Singing by Walt Whitman

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Essay: Write a two-page essay in which you compare any two out of the four Walt Whitman and Langston Huges poems. What do they have in common? How are they different? Use specific examples from the text to prove your point.

Today, we know, that a poem can best be described as a verbal composition designed to convey experiences, ideas, or emotions in a very imaginative way, characterized by the use of language chosen for its sound and suggestive power and by the use of literary techniques such as meter, metaphor, and rhyme, etc. A literary composition like a poem is written with an intensity or beauty of language. Poetry can be written about anything you would like. Famous Poets, like Walt Whitman and Langston Hughes wrote about things that go on in their everyday life. I, too, sign America and I hear America Singing are two famous poems which, at that time, was something both of these gentlemen experienced in America. Among these two poems, there is a link of similarities and differences between them.

I, too, sing America by Langston Hughes was written about the lifestyle and face of American people in the 1930s. This poem talks mostly about slavery and the results of slavery. Hughes, as an African American himself, is speaking in terms of a slave. He talks about how he is a black slave being governed by the white man and that there will be a time in which he will never be governed by anyone and would be free. I hear America Singing by Walt Whitman was written while walking the docks of New York in the late 1800s. Whitman was writing an uplifting poem about the vibrancy, strength, and creativity of the nation. The poem is basically about what the happy people of New York do in their everyday life.

I, too, sing American and I hear America Singing have some similarities and some differences. For the most part, they have more differences. Basically, what both poets are describing is completely different. Whitman is describing a happier view of the people of New York, while Hughes is describing a more negative view of discrimination, racism, unequality, etc.

In other words, one sounds happy while the other sounds sad. In I, too, sing America, Hughes wrote, “I am the darker brother. They send me to eat in the kitchen when company comes”. This describes unequality and the sad life of a slave. In I hear America Singing, Whitman wrote “The day what belongs to the day—at night the party of young fellows, robust, friendly, singing with open mouths their strong melodious songs.” This describes a more positive happy feeling towards life in the United States, which shows both poems give a different message.

Among differences, both poems also seem to show a bit of similarities. One reason is because both poems are free verse. Also the titles are very similar. Both titles have America Singing in them. Most importantly, both poems use images of nature. When reading both poems you can definitely get a picture in your head. Like in I, too, sing America, Hughes says, “They send me to eat in the kitchen when company comes, but I laugh, and eat well, and grow strong.” Also like in I Hear America Singing, Whitman says “The boatman singing what belongs to him in his boat, the deckhand singing on the steamboat deck, the shoe maker singing as he sits on his bench.” That’s a major similarity, which links both poems to be similar in a way.

In general, in both poems there is a link of similarities and difference between I, too, sing America by Langston Hughes and I hear America singing by Walt Whitman. Many of the similarities have to do with the imagery, titles, and free verse. Many of the differences have to do with a positive and negative view and also both poems deliver a different message. Both poems are excellent works of literature, which have been influencing the lives of many Americans for a very long time. We use these works of literature to read upon and learn from their special writing techniques.

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