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What's the tone, imagery, metaphor or simile, alliteration or hyperbole and a prefix or...

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gloriaramiro | Student, Grade 11 | eNotes Newbie

Posted December 7, 2009 at 1:44 AM via web

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What's the tone, imagery, metaphor or simile, alliteration or hyperbole and a prefix or suffix of this poem? Help! plz 'I hear America singing.'

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 the 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 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.

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coachingcorner | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Senior Educator

Posted December 7, 2009 at 2:39 AM (Answer #1)

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The tone of the poem 'I Hear America Singing' by Walt Whitman is jubilant and happy. The poem is an expression of celebration of all that he sees that is good about America. He praises the work ethic and the level playing field of opportunity where everyone can dream of success and get it if only they would work for it. He praises the harmony of calm caring family life in exultant tones - saving particular admiration for the sweetness of the mother singing to her baby.

The whole element of singing is a metaphor for co-operation,trust and loyalty - the joint success that can be bred when like minds of decent folk all pull together. Whitman sees America as a land where the idea of physical work is not looked down upon but appreciated - each for its artisan craft.Whitman was a working man himself:

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theyellowbookworm | College Teacher | (Level 1) Assistant Educator

Posted December 23, 2014 at 7:04 PM (Answer #2)

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In the poem “I hear America singing,” Whitman celebrates American democracy. In one of his famous catalogues, Whitman lists a variety of disparate individuals. Whitman’s speaker, the famous Whitmanian “I”, hears a mechanic, a carpenter, a mason, a boatman, a shoemaker, a wood-cutter, a mother, a sewing girl, and a group of male comrades. Characteristically, Whitman’s “I” is not confined by temporality but traverses space and time to hear all of these different singers. The image of these various singers rests on their songs, which are melodious and powerful. Whitman does not name these songs but, when placed in the larger context of Leaves of Grass, we can determine that these singers sing of American democracy.

Notice also that the singers are of the working class. These singers are laborers and Whitman’s “I” is one of them – he is “one of the roughs.” These laborers celebrate the place of the working class in American democracy.

At the end of the poem, Whitman celebrates male adhesiveness. (Adhesiveness was the way to discuss the love between men in the nineteenth-century.) This theme is important to Whitman’s poetic and comes to fruition in the “Calamus” cluster of Leaves of Grass. The poem ends with the image of these young men: “the party of young fellows, robust, friendly, / Singing, with open mouths, their strong melodious songs.”

Like most of Whitman’s poetry, “I hear America singing” does not contain figurative language (hyperbole, simile, metaphor). Rather, Whitman relies on colloquial language – his “barbaric yawp” – to convey meaning. Whitman departs from English poetry by using a conversational and informal tone.

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