Walt Whitman

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If Walt Whitman was to write "I Hear America Singing" today, what do you think he would write?

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Jennings Williamson eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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This poem was first published in 1860, when America was certainly a place fraught with discord and injustice. The American Civil War would begin just one year later, and slavery was still legal in the America that existed in 1860. In other words, that America, the one Whitman heard singing, was imperfect and problematic and full of contradictions, just as many would argue the America of today, in 2018, is. Despite this, he could still see the ways in which America was beautiful, and he represented that within the poem. Therefore, I think that Whitman—were he writing the poem today—would retain the positive, optimistic mood of the poem. He would have to diversify the kinds of worker he discusses; there are lots of kinds of jobs that did not exist then that do now. Also, Whitman assumes that mechanics and...

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mrs-campbell eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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