The United States of America can be a very different place for each one of its citizens. For some, it’s the land of golden opportunity but for others, it can be a hard and unforgiving disappointment. For this essay we’re going to do a bit of comparative literary analysis between three poems and three very different impressions: Walt Whitman’s “I Hear America Singing,” Langston Hughes’ “I, Too,” and Allen Ginsberg’s “A Supermarket in California.” The Hughes and Ginsberg poems are both commentaries on Whitman’s view of the United States. Both have a definite point of view, and both are shaped by the historical and sociological eras they were written in.
ESSAY PROMPT: As you read through each poem, consider: Each poet and poem has a vision of America. How are they different? How are they the same? How does each poet use symbolism and figurative language to illustrate that vision? How are the poems or poets influenced by the times in which they live? And which poet’s impression is closest to your own experience of the United States?
Essay Three is a Literary Comparative Analysis, also known as a Compare and Contrast essay. Two or more works of literature are analyzed, looking for their similarities and differences, centered around a common theme. To write your essay, follow these steps:
- Identify & introduce each of the three poems and conclude with a thesis–the point you are making about the three poems.
- Establish a point of comparison for each poem and then describe the first poem and then the others to support your point.
- Continue with additional points of comparison–using examples first from your own critical thinking, supported by quotes/paraphrases/examples from the poem, as well as from your database sources..
- Conclude with a summary that reviews your main points and reiterates the thesis. Don’t introduce new ideas into a conclusion.
Essay Three will be a 5-7–pages (doubled spaced), following MLA 8th guidelines for formatting and citing. In addition to the three poems, include a minimum of three (3) sources from the library databases ONLY, ONE for EACH poem to back up your assertions (on the poet, the poem, or the historical period) for a total of SIX sources, ONE of the three database sources needs to be a PEER REVIEWED article