"Hog Butcher For The World"

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Last Updated on June 1, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 132

Context: Much of Sandburg's poetry eulogizes the bustling, sprawling city, specifically, Chicago. By blending what is conventionally thought to be beautiful in poetry with the unpoetic but fundamental images of the physical structures and the central pulse of the big city, he presents a powerful, realistic picture of city life. "Chicago" attempts to depict the life peculiar to that great city by means of harsh and variable rhythms and language and through references to the organic and commercial forces, activities, and characteristics of the "stormy, husky, brawling" city. The poet begins his poem by addressing the city, calling it by titles which essentially reflect its personality:

Hog Butcher for the World,
Tool Maker, Stacker of Wheat,
Player with Railroads and the Nation's Freight Handler;
Stormy, husky, brawling,
City of the Big Shoulders. . . .

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