The Man with the Hoe

by Edwin Markham

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What is the Markham's attitude toward the common man in his poem "The Man with the Hoe"?

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Markham believes that the common man is pitiable. He portrays a laborer who is now far removed from the angels whom he could have embodied and has instead become more like an ox. Markham mourns the ways he believes the common man is hollow and lacking in appreciation for art or music. He regrets the ways that common men are made bent and hopeless. Throughout the poem, Markham makes it clear that this is not a thing that the common man has done to himself, but rather a thing that has been done to him.

At the end of the poem, Markham makes it clear that he blames "masters, lords, and rulers" for this fate. He appears to believe that these wretched conditions are permanent, but he also asserts that those who have worked men into these states shall be held to account for their actions.

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