I Hear America Singing Walt Whitman

I Hear America Singing Walt Whitman

Critical Appreciate of the poem I Hear America Singing Walt Whitman. Walt Whitman is regarded as the most revolutionary of poets of American 19th century poetry. He had the distinction of being a pioneer of 19th century American Poetry. He was the spokesman of American masses who represents comprehensively and accurately the ideal and value of America. His ‘Leaves of Grass’, now ranks with the immortal classics of world literature. Emerson admired it,

I Hear America Singing Walt Whitman

“The most extraordinary piece of  

wit and wisdom, is incomparable

things said incomparably well.”

“I Hear America Singing’ is a patriotic lyric which the present a sense of multitudinous life of America as well as the poet’s joy and pride in his motherland. It is taken from ‘Leaves of Grass’ which is filled with optimism, a sense that America’s humming energy is creating a product of creativity, utility and dignity.

Title of the poem

In the all work of English literature, title is always very apt and suggestive. It always taken from central idea, theme or a hero. The title is a suitable and indicative which presents idea that the poet hears in imagination of the varied songs of America, sung by her different people, in different walks of life. Here ‘singing’ means the rapid development, progress of America. The Americans are a happy and hardworking people, who take pleasure in their work and in their life.

Theme of the poem

The poem presents the picture off America of Whitman’s dream. Individual contribution makes a complete song though the tunes are different from round the corner of the country. Each one sings and reflects a genuine joy and makes up the essence of American dream. Thus a central idea is to sing to glory of America. We also find ‘Unity of Variety’.

The poem starts with the praising of America and poem also ended with praising. This shows deep faith in poet’s heart for his country. In the beginning of poem, the progress of America seems to like ‘Carols’ to Whitman. As he says,

“I hear America singing,

the varied carols I hear, 

Here America is a country of mechanized science and technology. The mechanics are singing as they work with their ‘blithe’ and ‘strong’. ‘Blithe and strong’ means merry and the regularity or capacity. The carpenter is doing the work as he measures his plank. The mason is also devoted to his duty. The sailor’s and Deckhand’s job is very risky. They go far in the sea with sincerity.

The shoemaker is interested in the customer. He prepares shoes and polishes them with sincerity. The wood cutter is from morning to sundown. The hatter is devoted in his work. The poet also hears the delicious singing of the wife, the mother, and the girl sewing and washing, all happy and contented with what belongs to them.  It seems that they all are deeply satisfied with the works they have got. No competition jealously is seen. There is no interpreting in one’s work by the order. As he says,

 “Each singing what belongs to

 him or her and to one else.

Everybody is doing the work with dignity. The work continues all the time whether it is morning or noon or at the sundown. Even the night remains busy by friendly takes and parties. All bodily movements also have become a part. Here we find a very useful massage,

“Work while you work, and

play while you play

The poet described singing of all common men’s works and they do their work with devotionally. They are not even try to involve each other’s job. They only gave importance to their job. We find a universal concept of unity or equality that

“No work is lower work everybody

 should stick to their own work.

Poetic Quality

The poem is in free verse, there is no division of stanza, regular rhyme schemes, or rhythm. The free verse style shows the rhythms of American speech and reflects the American freedom. Thus movement of verse is the sweeping movement of great currents of living people.

The poem is marked with omnivorous long lines’ which convey to the reader a broad, panoramic grasp of American’s spaciousness, her opulence and her varied multitudinous life. Indeed it is quite finished and perfect poem.

The poet has also used alliteration to bring musicality

The shoemaker singing as he sits on his bench,

The boatman singing what belongs to him in his boat.

Personal pronoun is also used. ‘I’ shows poet’s own important in poem. Poet also used metaphorical imagery. In a short as far as poetic style concerned, poem passed through very nicely. James Miller remarks about the style of the poem. The poem reveals the use of such standard devices as assonance, alliteration, repetition, inverse word order, parallelism, and many other.


To summing up, In ‘I hear America singing’; Whitman has succeeded in conveying a vivid sense of the varied life of America, as well as of the comradeship and zest for life of her people. The character of the poem-American people has been vividly and graphically sketched within a brief compass. The poem reveals that for the progress of nation, sorely common people involved in it:

“The progress of nation is not

 a privilege of the one person.”

In short, the whole range of American physical scenes is brought to us through the poem.

 Read it also: The second coming critical analysis

1 thought on “I Hear America Singing Walt Whitman”

Comments are closed.