Carl Sandburg Chicago

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Biographical Information Carl Sandburg, the author of the poem “Chicago,” was born in Galesburg, Illinois in 1878. His parents were Swedish immigrants and had seven children. His parents were so poor that Sandburg had to drop out of school at the age of thirteen to help support the family. He worked odd jobs and then traveled as a hobo at the age of nineteen. At the age of twenty, Sandburg served in the Spanish-American War in Puerto Rico. He returned home to work his way through college where a college professor encour-aged Sandburg’s writing. Sandburg never finished college. Instead he moved to Milwaukee and began working for a newspaper. There he met and married Lillian Steichen. They moved to Chicago, and Sandburg became a writer for the…show more content…
In the early 1900s, Chicago was a relatively young city compared to most other big cities of the United States and of the world. Chicago wasn’t founded until 1833, while New York was founded in 1624, Boston in 1630, Philadelphia in 1682, and St. Louis in 1764. Still by 1890, just a little more than 20 years before Carl Sandburg wrote this poem, Chicago had become the second largest city in the U.S. In his poem, Sandburg recognizes that Chicago has problems, but he focuses attention on Chicago’s…show more content…
Chicago is constantly growing and changing; in Sandburg’s words, Chicago is constantly “Building, breaking, rebuilding.” In Line 23, Sandburg comes full circle, again personifying Chicago as Hog Butcher, Tool Maker, Stacker of Wheat, Player with Railroads, Freight Handler to the Nation. He reminds the reader that Chicago’s attributes outweigh Chicago’s flaws. Repetition/ Anaphora - the repetition of a word or phrase at the beginning of successive clauses In the first three lines of Stanza 2, Sandburg uses repetition. The literary term for this is anaphora. Each of the first three lines begins with “They tell me you are . . . .” Then Sandburg completes each phrase by listing a flaw that others – the “they” in the stanza – criticize Chicago for: prostitution, gangs, and poverty. After each of the flaws, Sandburg again uses repetition to agree with the criticism, repeating “I have seen” and filling in the blank with a vivid picture of the problem. However, in Line 3, Sandburg throws their criticism back in their faces. Sandburg again uses anaphora, starting lines 18 and 19 with “Under the . . . .” Metaphor – A direct comparison between things that are not

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