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Exposing the Concept of the American Dream in the Poems ‘I Hear America Singing’, ‘Let America Be America Again’ and 'Ballad of Birmingham'

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Is the American Dream nothing but its once former glory? Many people perceive the idea of America in a number of ways. Those with a more prerogative background believe that American society is perfect as it is and everyone receives fair opportunities. It’s the foundation of US society, in which it conveys the promise of freedom and opportunity including success as extraneous. However, the American Dream seems to fall short in promises, as it’s more as a fallacy, with false promises and short lived chances for the marginalized community. Even though some poems focus on the lavish life of America, American society still has its flaws, and there are people who still endure hardship and semi oppression. Many difficult barriers debunk the concept of the American Dream. The poems used are ‘I Hear America Singing’, ‘Let America Be America Again’ and ‘Ballad of Birmingham’.

There are some poems that convey that hardship of American society. In Langston Hughes’s poem, ‘Let America Be America Again’ it conveys the origins of American society and how it promised equality for all, but that was short lived, as America is supposed to symbolize hope and opportunity, but falls flat with empty promises. In Hughes poem, he claims that “I am the Negro bearing slavery’s scars” (Line 19). This tone shifts from optimistic to pessimistic, as many American citizens are deprived of liberty and equality and are treated as less compared those with a more accepting background. Here Hughes portrays the grim side of American society. Hughes uses imagery showing the harsh reality of American society. In conclusion, within the interior of American society, there are people who suffer through oppression and obstacles in life.

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To add, some poems are one-sided and attempt to contradict the idea of hardship and persuade people that everyone in America lives a life of opportunity or a fair chance. In Walt Whitman’s poem, ‘I Hear America Singing’ he conveys the workers singing their enjoyment of working. He uses imagery to convey the workers jollyness in working. In the poem, it states that “Singing with open mouths their strong melodious songs” (Line 11). The word “singing” is a symbol for one’s emphasis on their freedom and opportunity. The poem preaches on the workers enjoyment in their freedom, they are working with glee and enjoyment. Whitman shows the hardship of American working in order to obtain their American Dream. The poem only uses imagery as it describes the productive occupation, each worker is doing. Every working person aids the development of American society, in order to achieve their American Dream. In conclusion, some poems may be divided only showing the surface of American society, preaching it’s empty message upon people on fairness and prosperity for all.

In Dudley Randall’s poem, ‘Ballad of Birmingham’ she conveys the harshness of livelihood in American society. Randall says that American prejudism has not been abolished and racism is still at large. The poem states that “For the dogs are fierce and wild” (Line 6). The dogs are metaphors for the one sided group who are against the minority race and continue on to oppress them. Furthermore, Randall says that American opportunity is not meant for everyone, as some people don’t achieve equal rights. It states in the poem that “For when she heard the explosion, Her eyes grew wet and wild” (Line 25). The Church is meant to be seen as a safe haven or a sigh of purity for all, however it’s been destroyed and has taken the lives of the innocent. Randall says that American opportunity is not meant for everyone, as some people don’t achieve equal rights. This poem is ironic, as the Church meant to protect people has taken many lives away at this event, only showing the prejudices in America, proving that the American Dream is deprived for certain groups from different backgrounds or culture.

To conclude, American society holds a legacy for being a land of freedom and opportunity, and being the home of liberty and prosperity for all citizens. However, the idea of social equality for all is considered nothing than empty promises for the marginalized race and there is an ordeal amount of hardship and discrimination for those who aren’t as privileged compared to others.

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Exposing the Concept of the American Dream in the Poems ‘I Hear America Singing’, ‘Let America Be America Again’ and ‘Ballad of Birmingham’. (2022, August 25). Edubirdie. Retrieved December 4, 2022, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/exposing-the-concept-of-the-american-dream-in-the-poems-i-hear-america-singing-let-america-be-america-again-and-ballad-of-birmingham/
“Exposing the Concept of the American Dream in the Poems ‘I Hear America Singing’, ‘Let America Be America Again’ and ‘Ballad of Birmingham’.” Edubirdie, 25 Aug. 2022, edubirdie.com/examples/exposing-the-concept-of-the-american-dream-in-the-poems-i-hear-america-singing-let-america-be-america-again-and-ballad-of-birmingham/
Exposing the Concept of the American Dream in the Poems ‘I Hear America Singing’, ‘Let America Be America Again’ and ‘Ballad of Birmingham’. [online]. Available at: <https://edubirdie.com/examples/exposing-the-concept-of-the-american-dream-in-the-poems-i-hear-america-singing-let-america-be-america-again-and-ballad-of-birmingham/> [Accessed 4 Dec. 2022].
Exposing the Concept of the American Dream in the Poems ‘I Hear America Singing’, ‘Let America Be America Again’ and ‘Ballad of Birmingham’ [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Aug 25 [cited 2022 Dec 4]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/exposing-the-concept-of-the-american-dream-in-the-poems-i-hear-america-singing-let-america-be-america-again-and-ballad-of-birmingham/
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