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Poetry Analysis Notes


I Hear America Singing
by Walt Whitman
interpreted by Amanda Maurer

I hear America singing, the varied carols I hear,
Those of mechanics, each one singing his as it should be
blithe and strong,
The carpenter singing his as he measueres his plank or
The amson singing his as he makes ready for work, or
leaves off work,
The boatman singing what belongs to him in his boat, the
deckhand singing on the steamboat deck,
The shoemaker singing as he sits on his bench, the hatter
singing as he stands,
The wood-cutter's song, the ploughboy's on his way in the
morning, or at noon intermission or at sundown,
The delicious singing of the mother, or of the young wife at
work, or of the girl sewing or washing,
Each singing what belongs to him or her and to none else,
The day what belongs to the day -- at night the party of
young fellows, robust, friendly,
Singing with open mouths their strong melodious songs.

Poet: Walt Whitman (1819-1892) grew up in Brooklyn and Long Island in a family with 9 children. He learned how to be a printer and through this he discovered his love for reading and writing.

Vocabulary: [NONE]

Type of poem:

Speaker: The speaker is someone listening with pride to the song of America.

This poem is directed toward America's working class.

Tone: The tone is proud and joyous.

This poem describes the song of America. The "song" represents the joy of being free. All the different people, of different trades, sing a part of the song. They become a chorus, harmonizing to make a beautiful melody.

Structure of poem: This poem has no rhyme or meter that can be determined so it is a free verse.

Examples of poetic techniques used in the poem:

The shoemaker singing as he sits on his bench. Alliteration
Young fellows, robust, friendly, singing with open mouths, their strong melodious songs.
I hear America singing

Connection between the poem and the poet's life and/or times: The poet grew up in New York City, where people of the working class lived close together. It was also during the time of immigration, and many of the new Americans had high hopes about their new home. He most likely observed these people and was inspired to write a poem about them.

Most memorable quote from the poem:
"I hear America singing."

© Smelli Notes 2001