Literature Study GuidesLeaves Of GrassI Hear America Singing Summary

Leaves of Grass | Study Guide

Walt Whitman

Download a PDF to print or study offline.

Study Guide
Cite This Study Guide

How to Cite This Study Guide

quotation mark graphic
MLA

Bibliography

Course Hero. "Leaves of Grass Study Guide." Course Hero. 7 Dec. 2017. Web. 20 July 2018. <https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Leaves-of-Grass/>.

In text

(Course Hero)

APA

Bibliography

Course Hero. (2017, December 7). Leaves of Grass Study Guide. In Course Hero. Retrieved July 20, 2018, from https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Leaves-of-Grass/

In text

(Course Hero, 2017)

Chicago

Bibliography

Course Hero. "Leaves of Grass Study Guide." December 7, 2017. Accessed July 20, 2018. https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Leaves-of-Grass/.

Footnote

Course Hero, "Leaves of Grass Study Guide," December 7, 2017, accessed July 20, 2018, https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Leaves-of-Grass/.

Leaves of Grass | I Hear America Singing | Summary

Share
Share

Summary

Whitman's speaker hears the diverse voices of an American public. He hears the "blithe and strong" carols of mechanics, "the delicious singing of the mother," and the "robust, friendly" party songs of young fellows. All proudly sing of their varied experiences—"what belongs to him or her and to none else"—with "open mouths."

Analysis

Whitman was not merely a poet in the written sense; he fancied himself an orator and a "singer" of poems. He loved the rhythm of the spoken word and worked to make his poetry a pleasure to the ears, like a song. His hope with this poem was that it would be a "song" that all Americans, whether "mason" or "mother," would one day also sing.

As the father of free verse, Whitman did away with a traditional structure of rhyming at the end of lines. Instead, as he does here, he often uses anaphora. He also uses the repetition of the word "singing," culminating in the last line, which is a joyous melody of pleasant sounds: "Singing with open mouths their strong melodious songs." To achieve this effect, he uses alliteration, specifically consonance, by repeating the initial "s" sound in "singing," "strong," and "songs." He also alliterates the pleasing liquid consonant "m" in "mouths" and "melodious." "Strong" and "songs" form a near internal rhyme.

Cite This Study Guide

information icon Have study documents to share about Leaves of Grass? Upload them to earn free Course Hero access!