ENC 1102 HCC Comparison of I Hear America Singing and I Too essay

Hillsborough Community College

Question Description

Langston Hughes cited Walt Whitman as one of his greatest influences, and some believe that Hughes wrote "I, Too, Sing America" in response to Whitman's "I Hear America Singing." Using textual evidence from both poems to support your answer, describe how Hughes's poem builds on Whitman's poem. Consider aspects such as structure, theme, word choice, etc., as you craft your response.

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ENC 1102 HCC Comparison of I Hear America Singing and I Too essay
ENC 1102 HCC Comparison of I Hear America Singing and I Too essay

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Comparison Essay between Hughes and Whitman
Right from the title, it is possible that “I too, sing America” is in response to Whitman’s
poem “I hear America Singing.” It would be too much of a coincidence for Langston Hughes to
create a poem with an almost similar title and an identical theme to the one by Whitman
especially considering the fact that Whitman was one of Hughes greatest inspiration. Hughes
may have therefore wanted to establish a connection with the already deceased Whitman by
writing a poem in response to Whitman’s earlier work. In Whitman’s poem, the American
working class sings along as they carry out their various trades. There is mention of
“mechanics,” “carpenters,” “boatmen” and even “mothers” and “girls” carrying out their
domestic responsibilities. Whitman, however, does not refer to the ethnicity of these in...

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