I Hear America Singing
I hear America singing, the varied carols I hear,
Those of mechanics, each one singing his as it should be blithe and strong,
The carpenter singing his as he measures his plank or beam,
The mason singing his as he makes ready for work, or leaves off work,
The boatman singing what belongs to him in his boat, the deck-hand singing on the steamboat deck,
The shoemaker singing as he sits on his bench, the hatter singing as he stands,
The woodcutter’s song, the ploughboy’s on his way in the morn-ing, or at noon intermission or at sundown,
The delicious singing of the mother, or of the young wife at work, or of the girl sewing or washing,
Each singing what belongs to him or her and to none else,
The day what belongs to the day—at night the party of young fellows, robust, friendly,
Singing with open mouths their strong melodious songs.
In the poem “I Hear America Singing” by Walt Whitman, the reader envisions a country of people working for the greater good of mankind. These people come together as part of the whole society developing industry and production. Each person has a different occupation, but each job is important to the bigger picture. The bigger picture and theme being that of a country in which everyone is working together to create a successful and harmonious civilization.
Beyond the literal, he means that all of the people of America working in their different occupations come and work together for the whole of the country. These people are creating and developing the industry of America. To Whitman, this is like everyone is singing together in a beautiful song.
Whitman’s attitude toward Americans is uplifting and positive. He exalts Americans and the hard labor they perform and sees it as a promising land where each person is unique, but united “Each singing what belongs to [her] and to none else” ( line 8). Whitman praises the work values and ethics of the American people. He depicts a country of people who work hard, yet through the hard work, they enjoy the fruits of their labors “The day what belongs to the day At night, the party of young fellows, robust, friendly” ( line 9 ).