I, Too Questions and Answers
by Langston Hughes

Start Your Free Trial

Analyze the literacy device in "I, too Sing America," by Langston Hughes.

Expert Answers info

Cleveland Goodman eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2016

write249 answers

starTop subjects are Literature and History

One very important literary device at work in Langston Hughes's "I, Too, Sing America" is an allusion to another famous poem: Walt Whitman's "I Hear America Singing." Understanding this allusion helps to illuminate another aspect of Hughes's poem and lends even more weight to the imagery that he presents. Walt Whitman is often considered America's greatest poet. He wrote of life, the country, democracy, and the people of the world in a transcendental way. In "Song of Myself," he wrote of slave and slaver as one in the same; to Whitman, everyone and everything was worthwhile. However, the poem that Hughes is alluding to here focuses on the life of the country itself. In the poem, Whitman lists a number of professions, all important to the functioning of the country. Carpenters, mechanics, woodcutters, mothers, and young wives, among others, are all held up in his esteem, "[e]ach singing what belongs to him or her and to none else,/ [...] Singing with open mouths their strong melodious songs"...

(The entire section contains 2 answers and 731 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

booboosmoosh eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2003

write4,119 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences

check Approved by eNotes Editorial