Compare and contrast the poems "Chicago" and "Fog" by Carl Sandburg.

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sciftw eNotes educator| Certified Educator

These two poems are similar in the fact that they both focus on a city. Structurally, they are both made of multiple stanzas, and there is no set meter or rhyme to either poem. "Chicago" is a much grittier and visceral poem. It is a poem that is unafraid to point out the seedier elements of a large city. It discusses hunger, prostitution, and murder.

And they tell me you are crooked and I answer: Yes, it is true I have seen the gunman kill and go free to kill again.

However, the narrator is proud of the city's character and dynamic nature.

Come and show me another city with lifted head singing so proud to be alive and coarse and strong and cunning.

"Fog," on the other hand, doesn't have a narrator that puts the reader down into the actual city to see its various parts. Instead, the narrator of "Fog" comes to view the city as a silent observer perched up above the city. The narrator doesn't care one way or the other for what the city is like or not like. It observes, and it moves on.