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American Passages: A Literary SurveyUnit IndexAmerican Passages Home
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3. Utopian Promise   

10. Rhythms
in Poetry

•  Unit Overview
•  Using the Video
•  Authors
•  Timeline
•  Activities
- Overview Questions
- Video
- Author
- Context
- Creative Response
- PBL Projects

Activities: Author Activities

Carl Sandburg - Author Questions

Back Back to Carl Sandburg Activities
  1. Comprehension: In "Chicago," who is "they" in the section beginning in line 6? How does Sandburg portray Chicago? What is the effect of his use of personification? What is the tone of this poem?

  2. Context: In "Child of the Romans," who are the people in the train? How do they compare to the shovelman? Where do our sympathies lie? What is the significance of the title? How does this poem compare to "Chicago"? What are some of the themes that appear in both poems?

  3. Exploration: As mentioned earlier, the city was an important symbol in modernist poetry. Compare Sandburg's portrayal of the modern city in "Chicago" with Eliot's portrayal of London in The Waste Land.

  4. Exploration: For many American poets, it was difficult to write in the shadow of the long and rich literary traditions of older, more established cultures, particularly those of Europe and the Orient. Thus, part of creating an American poetic identity meant making American history and culture legitimate or revered. With a much shorter history and tradition, American poets often felt they had to work harder to establish themselves and their poetry. In addition, the melting pot culture made it difficult to create a collective American identity. How does Sandburg portray history in "Cool Tombs"? What is he saying about Lincoln, Grant, and Pocahontas? How does his idea of history differ from Hughes's in "The Negro Speaks of Rivers"?

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