Chicago: The Legacy Of Carl Sandburg Essay

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The Legacy of Carl Sandburg

Carl Sandburg may be one of our most influential poets in American history, he knew the American working man and his necessities. Sandburg used his poetry to explicate to the economy how life is, can, and could be. Carl Sandburg was born in Galesburg, Illinois January 6, 1878 to Swedish immigrant parents with the names of August and Clara Johnson. His family was extremely poor. Carl left school at the age of thirteen to work odd jobs from bricklaying to dish washing to earn money to support the family. At seventeen, he left home to travel to Kansas as a hobo, there he turned to the army for help. He served eight months in Puerto Rico during the Spanish-American war.
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Chicago is as poem that captures how the cities of America are in that time period. He addresses the city as "you", as if it were a living person and all of the people that make things happen in the city are the organs of that person. The poem has a positive outlook on the city of Chicago. It details the flaws and shortcomings of the city. He talks of painted women on the streets luring the farm boys, which would be women with make-up applied heavily working the streets. He says that they tell him the city is brutal, crooked, and wicked and that he believes them. The poem also translates into how living in the city is toilsome and that the city is unrelenting. On the other hand it shows how the city can be prosperous and happy with the city’s disadvantages. in the second half of the poem it’s telling how nomatter what is wrong with the city, the people are still proud of who they are.
The theme of "Chicago" is how life in the city really is. The Acadamy of American Poets states that "Chicago is written so that the average working man can read it and think about his surroundings rather than to become a robot from the repetitious stress consuming him"(47-48). The Carl Sandburg page says that, Oliver Wendle Holmes, a skilled rhymester, told a young poet:
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