Walt Whitman: Poems

perspectives of american literatur

What would the tone of Walt Whitman's poem "I Hear America Singing" be if the people in the poem were speaking rather than singing?

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One by one, he lists the different members of the American working class and describes the way they sing as they perform their respective tasks. This poem exemplifies the theme of musicality in Whitman's poetry. Whitman uses music to emphasize the interconnectedness of the human experience. Even though each worker sings his or her individual song, the act of singing is universal, and by extension, all of the workers unite under one common American identity. Were they not singing, the tone and mood would fall flat. The jubilation in Whitman's poem  would not be the same.