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Analysis and comments on The Junk Man by Carl Sandburg

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Comment 15 of 265, added on May 6th, 2009 at 2:03 AM.

True to his style, Carls Sandburg used a working class man to be the symbol
for Death. Sandburg begins by glorifying God upon creating death, and then
goes on with a story about a broken clock; the clock is removed from its
home because it grew tired and no longer worked properly. This is one of
the darker of Sandburg poems, as he talks about the end. Yet Sandburg
portrays death as a positive thing "How glad the clock is when the big Junk
Man drives
his wagon" (Sandburg) He knows that when the time comes, those who know
they have no more to accomplish, will gladly leave.

The Junk Man from United States
Comment 14 of 265, added on May 5th, 2009 at 11:32 PM.

In "The Junk Man" by Carl Sandburg, Sandburg uses one of his staple forms
of poetry by personifying a simple object. In this poem he is using an old
and decrepit clock to symbolize and old person on their last rounds. He
also gives Death a voice in the form of the junk man, essentially easing
the passing of the clock, or person. This relates to his life when he
changed careers, he felt he didn't belong where he was and so moved, just
as the junk man would remove the old clock for a newer one.

Chris Leahy from United States
Comment 13 of 265, added on May 3rd, 2009 at 10:52 PM.

"The Junk Man" by Carl Sandburg reflects the end of a person's life.
Sandburg uses a series of metaphors to compare the clock to an old person
and the junk man to death. He also used another literary term called
personification to enhance the comparison. Some examples of personification
used in the poem were "gave Death a job" and "how glad the clock is."
Sandburg gave death a job by having the junk man take the clock away; which
represents death taking a person's last tick in life. Sandburg made a
career change and took on journalism because he felt the responsibilities
of marriage after he married Lilian Streichen. This is like when the junk
man says, "You don't belong here, You gotta come Along with me" in the
poem because Sandburg didn't belong where he was; just like the senior
citizens did't belong where they were.

Brian Nakamura from United States
Comment 12 of 265, added on May 3rd, 2009 at 10:43 PM.

In the poem The Junk Man, Carl Sandburg uses an anaogly comparing a clock
that is wearing out to a person who is getting old. The Junk Man is the
person who has a job removing old people from life and taking them away to
death. People around the house joke about the bum clock which is refering
to how people often talk about the elderly as they begin to decline in
mental and physical health. Sandburg in the last sentence, talks about the
relief somebody feels when they are finally carried away in the arms of the
junk man, this relates to a person who has lived their life and is ready to
accept death.

Ashley Engeln from United States
Comment 11 of 265, added on May 3rd, 2009 at 8:43 PM.

In Carl Sandburg's poem "The Junk Man", he uses metaphors to show how the
elderly are like broken clocks and how Death is like the junk man. He shows
how it is Death's job to remove elderly people who no longer are a benefit
to society, just as it is the junk man's job to remove a broken clock.
Furthermore, the use of a clock rather than any other broken household item
shows that Sandburg also meant the clock to symbolize time an how it runs
out as life comes to an end. Finally, Sandburg, relating to how he had
worked for most of his life, gave Death a job to show that no matter who
someone is or where they are there is always work to be done.

Jonathon Berschauer
Comment 10 of 265, added on April 23rd, 2009 at 11:19 AM.

In The Junk Man by Carl Sandburg it is symbolzing the end of your life
ticking down.It may also being symbolzing lonley people who feel as if they
dont belong. When I read this poem and as it was ending I didnt want it to
end, I wanted to read more. Sandburg writes his poems so well and has
everybody waiting for more.My favorite part of this poem is how he compares
a worn out old clock that doesnt work properly anymore to a life that
doesnt belong there or someone who is very sick and doesnt function
properly. This is one of my favorite poems by him it was wonderful!

Ashley Engeln from United States
Comment 9 of 265, added on May 14th, 2007 at 7:26 PM.

Ann, how beautifully you express yourself, like Sandburg.
This poem reminds me of "The Emperor of Ice Cream" by Wallace Stevens, and
not just because both are about death, but because both equate death with
the ordinary aspects of life. Death is final, but it is not the enemy, nor
is the junk man, the emperor of ice cream, the run-down clock or the "sheet
on which she embroidered fan tails once", these are all just part of the
whole. As are we.

Kate from United States
Comment 8 of 265, added on May 14th, 2007 at 12:58 AM.

At 80 I have great appreciation for Sandburg's poem.
I have seen many who were grateful to feel those loving arms of the junk

Ann from United States
Comment 7 of 265, added on April 9th, 2006 at 9:41 PM.

I was listening on WGN, Chicago last night and heard this. I do not know
much about Carl Sandburg, but after hearing this, I soon will. Moving! To
the person that commented afore that this was some what stupid, I say, they
have never walked passed a person in a nursing home sitting in a wheel
chair w/o any attention, near death already, and that the Junk Man would be
welcome at any time there. It sure would be for me.....JC

Joe Chanley from United States
Comment 6 of 265, added on March 14th, 2006 at 4:53 PM.



bob from United Kingdom

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Information about The Junk Man

Poet: Carl Sandburg
Poem: 21. The Junk Man
Volume: Chicago Poems
- Other Days (1900-1910)
Year: 1900
Added: Feb 4 2004
Viewed: 2826 times
Poem of the Day: Jul 7 2012

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