What Is the Meaning of Walt Whitman's "I Hear America Singing?"

Walt Whitman celebrates American individualism through its brute strength and physicality, and he makes it heroic. His use of tone and repetition build a "carol" that celebrates the heroics of the American worker.

His free verse style ruggedly proclaims the dynamic force behind the laborer in America in "I hear America Singing." His rhythmic scheme and use of repetition echoes the patterns and mechanical attributes of work and celebrates the individuality of the American worker. He chooses laborers like the carpenter, the boatman, the shoemaker and the mother, “Each singing what belongs to him or her and to none else,/The day what belongs to the day." Through these individual acts, a collective "whole" is built. This collective whole is the America that allows the freedom of individuality.

Walt Whitman is considered the father of free verse. While he did not invent this poetic style, his use mirrors the rugged individualism of America, and he popularized it with his publication of "The Leaves of Grass." In "I Hear America Singing" he bends his view of the rugged individualist with the collective whole to create his iconic view of freedom, and the heroic worker as the creative force behind the growth of America.