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Analysis and comments on Chicago by Carl Sandburg

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Comment 59 of 699, added on May 6th, 2009 at 10:22 AM.

In “Chicago” by Carl Sandburg, Sandburg does a great job of describing the
big city life in Chicago, Illinois. Sandburg gives us descriptive words of
the city and everything traveling through Chicago which is in the form of
imagery. Imagery helps creates a mental image by using a vivid description.
In the opening lines of the poem Sandburg informs the reader of possible
jobs he could have taken up during the decade he spent having an assortment
of diverse jobs after dropping out of school in the eighth grade. The poem
is a free verse tone for the ending lines of the poem does not rhythm. The
jobs Sandburg took up in Chicago affected his outlook on life and made the
city have flaws in his mind. Regardless of the flaws the big city holds
within it, the author does a great job of illustrating that “big city life”
in America.

Brittany Celani from United States
Comment 58 of 699, added on May 6th, 2009 at 1:36 AM.

Carl Sandburg was a true American writer because most of his poems are
written to take place in the United States, and he was a man who cared
about his society. He made himself the voice that spoke up for the poor
farmers, the factory workers, and other struggling people. The poem
“Chicago” portrays the city the way it was; reality. Sandburg had returned
to Illinois and took up journalism. For many years he worked as a reporter
for the Chicago Daily News and covered labor issues within the city. “And
they tell me you are brutal and my reply is: On the faces of women and
children I have seen the marks of wanton hunger,” (Sandburg). This
represents that he sees the sadness in the city, by seeing the hunger,
pain, death and destruction of the city. Even with all the wickedness in
the city, he seems to forget all the problems and asks if there is a city
more majestic than Chicago. “Come and show me another city with lifted head
singing so proud to be alive and coarse and strong and cunning,”
(Sandburg). Even though the city is a mess, it is still the most beautiful
place in the world.

Arlene B. from United States
Comment 57 of 699, added on May 6th, 2009 at 12:28 AM.

In the poem "Chicago", the first stanza is introducing to the reader the
jobs people in Chicago have. Carl Sandburg dropped out of school after his
eighth grade graduation and spent ten years working a wide variety of jobs,
such as a milkman or a shoe shiner. Sandburg's work experience greatly
influenced his writing techniques. Continuing with the rest of the poem,
Sandburg mentions some problems with Chicago, but still mentions how
wonderful and majestic the city really is. Sandburg states at the end of
the poem that Chicago reveals promise and the city laughs in the presence
of evil.

Christina Zimmerman from United States
Comment 56 of 699, added on May 5th, 2009 at 11:25 PM.

Carl Sandburg a man who dropped out of school following his eighth grade
graduation had to find work to feed himself. He went through several jobs
before ending up a hobo. In his poem "Chicago" he mentions many of the
jobs he once suffered from. He also as a hobo he saw with his own eyes the
differences between the rich and the unfortunate poor. This poem written
in his favorite free verse style, really brings about the hardships of a
blue color town such as, Chicago, or the Windy City, as some people call
it. That nickname in it self has a double meaning, personifying the city
as cold and bitter.

Riley Ludwig from United States
Comment 55 of 699, added on May 5th, 2009 at 10:19 PM.

Carl Sandburg's "Chicago", has uses vivid words to create images for the
reader to get a sense of this energetic and loud city. Apostrophe is being
used; the inanimate object that is being portrayed is Chicago city. The
poem shows the face of the working class with its ignorance, corruptness,
prostitution, but as well as the proud American in urban society. Sandburg
was raced in a working class society and also worked as a child. As a young
man Sandburg was a hobo and traveled across the nation learning folk songs
on the history of America, this was incorporated in his free verse poetry;
it is believed that Walt Whitman also influenced Sandburg’s poetry because
of the echoes of oratory in “Chicago”.

Elizabeth Aguilera from United States
Comment 54 of 699, added on May 5th, 2009 at 7:20 PM.

Carl Sandburg was constantly moving around around and constantly working
different jobs to scrape up whatever he could from life. By traveling and
working in such conditions, Sandberg was able to relate to the narrator,
who also has many jobs to tend to. Sandberg uses free verse to express that
the jobs in both "Chicago," and Sandberg's life contrast the hardships that
have to be faced by middle class workers opposed to youth and laughter.
Sandberg uses the color white in the poem to also express that, despite all
the trials and tribulations the workers of the city must face, there is
still good inside evryone and a cheerful laughter that constantly echoes
over the city. This is good to note as the city becomes personified as a
dark, eerie person who enjoys seeing the evilness of a city prevail, and
the goodness of a city fall.

Justin Bahlinger from United States
Comment 53 of 699, added on May 5th, 2009 at 12:13 AM.

Sandburg's free verse writing (following Whitman's very own steps)
describes the city streets of Chicago as if they were from the eyes of a
proud, working, middle class civilian living in the city. He shows us how
terrible others out of the city may see the streets and its activities, but
that it is also one of the few who is, as Sandburg writes,"...the pulse,
and under his ribs the heart of the people.." showing the loyalty the
working class has for the city of Chicago.

Nacho Collazo from United States
Comment 52 of 699, added on May 5th, 2009 at 7:08 AM.

Carl Sandburg was a wise man who often expressed real life situations
through his poems. Throught his life he has had many experiences through
his extensive travels which has influenced his writings. In this poem
"Chicago", Sandburg talks about the ugly and rough nature of the city and
uses an anaology of a fierce dog
to describe the cities demeanor. Later in the poem he uses the color white
to symbolize the goodness of the city which has some redeeming qualities.

Lauren Engeln from United States
Comment 51 of 699, added on May 4th, 2009 at 7:51 PM.

In "Chicago" Sandburg relates to the narrator because he had a stockpile of
former jobs ranging from delivering milk to shining shoes. He was born into
the middle class by swedish immigrants who had six other children aside
from Carl. So he knew what it was like to live the hard life as a
back-breaking worker. The author uses his most often seen technique of free
verse. In this poem he uses similie to describe being fierce as a dog.
Sandburg uses personification as he brings to life the city of Chicago as a
horrid person. He describes the city as an atrocious place but by the end
of the poem, he is saying that every other city doesnt measure up and he is
proud to be a citizen.

Shawnee Self from United States
Comment 50 of 699, added on May 2nd, 2009 at 10:42 PM.

Carl Sandburg’s travels and experiences have shaped and influenced many of
his writings. In “Chicago,” Sandburg writes about the evil and destruction
he has seen there. He also goes on to mention that there is no city as
proud and confident as Chicago. He uses the color white to also signify
that underneath the darkness and corruption, there is a side of beauty and

Ryan Mills from United States

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Information about Chicago

Poet: Carl Sandburg
Poem: 1. Chicago
Volume: Chicago Poems
- Chicago Poems
Year: 1912
Added: Feb 4 2004
Viewed: 1752 times
Poem of the Day: Jun 26 2003

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