I Hear America Singing

I Hear America Singing

by Walt Whitman

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 measures his plank or beam,
The mason 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.

Summary of I Hear America Singing

  • Popularity of “I Hear America Singing”: This poem is written by Walt Whitman, a renowned American poet, essayist, and journalist. I Hear America Singing is one of the best-known poems about liberation. It was first published in 1860 in Leave of Grass. The poem speaks about the happiness of people belonging to various professions. It illustrates how America offers them a place to live freely. More importantly, the poem is written to acknowledge the work of common people to bring the dignity of labor. The poem shows individuality in the community as they live together while working in their fields.
  • “I Hear America Singing” As a Representative of Joy: This poem is written to express the importance of every type of jobs. Also, the poet praises the American working class and acknowledges their significant role in American society. He talks about the carpenters, woodcutters, masons, boatmen, and mechanics. He elaborates how they enjoy their work and play a pivotal role in the progress of the country. Even mothers, young wives, and girls are expressing their joy as they also sing while performing their duties. Thus, every person is contributing individually to make America a happy place.
  • Major Themes in “I Hear America Singing”: Freedom, growth, and dignity are the major themes of this poem. The poem speaks about the freedom people enjoy in America. Throughout the poem, everyone has their own song which means everyone is important. Every working people contribute to the growth of America or any country they live in.

Analysis of Literary Devices Used in “I Hear America Singing”

Literary devices are tools used by writers to convey their emotions, ideas, and themes to make texts more appealing to the reader.  Walt Whitman has also used some literary devices in this poem to bring depth in her text. The analysis of some of the literary devices used in this poem has been given below.

  1. Assonance: Assonance is the repetition of vowel sounds in the same line such as the sound of /i/ in “The carpenter singing his as he measures his plank or beam”.
  2. Consonance: Consonance is the repetition of consonant sounds in the same line such as the sound of /s/ in “The carpenter singing his as he measures his plank or beam”.
  3. Alliteration: Alliteration is the repetition of consonant sounds in the same line in quick succession such as the sound of /h/ in “Each singing what belongs to him or her and to none else”.
  4. Imagery: Imagery is used to make readers perceive things involving their five senses. The entire poem is imagery because it describes the activity of each working men and women. The reader can visualize each profession while reading.
  5. Personification: Personification is to give human qualities to inanimate objects. For example, “I hear America singing, the varied carols I hear.” America is personified as if it can sing like a human.
  6. Symbolism: Symbolism is using symbols to signify ideas and qualities, giving them symbolic meanings that are different from the literal meanings. Here, “Singing” symbolizes oneness, dignity, and freedom.

Analysis of Poetic Devices Used in “I Hear America Singing”

Poetic and literary devices are the same, but a few are used only in poetry. Here is the analysis of some of the poetic devices used in this poem.

  1. Stanza: A stanza is a poetic form of some lines. The poem comprises only one stanza having eleven lines in it.
  2. Free Verse: Free verse is a type of poetry that does not contain patterns of rhyme or meter. This is a free-verse poem with no strict rhyme scheme or metrical

Quotes to be Used

The lines stated below are suitable to expresse happiness. You may also quote this line as an invitation for friends to sing during a party.

“The day what belongs to the day—at night the party of young fellows, robust, friendly,
Singing with open mouths their strong melodious songs.”