Essence of Being American: Analysis of Walt Whitman's “I Hear America Singing' Poem

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American Definition

What is the definition of an American? Not all us citizens are supposed to be native to the US in order to be considered an American. Many people from all over come for a greater, better life and make sacrifices to get to America. America has a mix of cultures and freedoms so everyone can be equal. A true American works very hard and is very proud to be an American.

A true American is someone who is loyal to their country and shows patriotism. “Veterans Day: Never forget their duty” is a story about soldiers fighting in Vietnam. The soldiers were beaten and put in jail. Mike Christian used his clothes to make the United States flag. The Vietnamese found out and tortured Mike Christian. Mike keep doing it anyways and sang the Pledge “ Sitting there, with his eyes almost shut from his beating, making another American flag” ( 7)Mike Christian was showing loyalty to his country and staying true to his beliefs even after he faced consequences of being beaten so severely, proving he is a patriot. And loyal to his country.

Noda deals with finding an identity and the cultural prejudices in America. At the end, she eventually realizes she is Japanese american.“But now I can say that I am a Japanese american. It means I have a place here in this country too. I have a place here on the East coast, where our neighbor is so much a part of our family that my mother never passses her house at night without glancing at the lights to see if she is home and safe.” (Noda pg40) Kesaya is proud to be an American, even though she had to make sacrifices.

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Langston Hughes was a social activist and poet his basic theme of “ I too sing America” focused on the American Dream and the possibilities of hope and moving forward. He is making a “response” poem to Walt whitmans “I Hear America Singing poem.” “I, too, sing America. I am the darker brother. They send me to eat in the kitchen when company comes, but I laugh and eat well, and grow strong. Tomorrow I’ll be at the table when company comes. Nobody’ll dare say to me, “Eat in the kitchen,” Then. Besides, They'll See how beautiful I am and be ashamed.”(Hughes, pg 17) This is important because being an America is all about freedom and equality. He is being loyal to his country and showing patriotism because Langston Hughes is an American citizen living in pre civil rights era, he isn't treated like one, and not a lot has changed. Hughes is trying to teach us to better our country. This is not what Amercans are like, Americans don’t segregate race.

Anizas struggles with living in America and finding her amazing talent as a writer. Aniza wants to love her work instead of being driven only by money. Anzia quickly realizes how hard it can be to live in America. “I want America to want me. She fell back in her chair, thunderstruck with my boldness. But yet, in a low voice of educated self-control, she tried to reason with me: “You have to show that you have something special for America before America has need of you.’ ” (Yezierska pg25)Work isn't fun Americans don't just sit around, they have to work hard, for a home, and what they want.

A Letter from an American farmer in 1781 talks about freedom and equality.“Here individuals of all nations are melted into a new race of men, whose labours and posterity will one day cause great changes in the world.” (Crevcoeur pg 33)America is one big melting pot where everyone is equal.

A true American works very hard, and is very proud to be an American. Living in America has a lot of freedom. although of course there are restrictions. part of American life is the acceptance of various cultures and religions that are new to you.

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Essence of Being American: Analysis of Walt Whitman’s “I Hear America Singing’ Poem. (2022, July 14). Edubirdie. Retrieved April 18, 2024, from
“Essence of Being American: Analysis of Walt Whitman’s “I Hear America Singing’ Poem.” Edubirdie, 14 Jul. 2022,
Essence of Being American: Analysis of Walt Whitman’s “I Hear America Singing’ Poem. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 18 Apr. 2024].
Essence of Being American: Analysis of Walt Whitman’s “I Hear America Singing’ Poem [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Jul 14 [cited 2024 Apr 18]. Available from:

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