I am the People, the Mob

by Carl Sandberg

Sonic Analysis

I am the People, the Mob

I am the people—the mob—the crowd—the mass.

Do you know that all the great work of the world is done through me?

I am the workingman, the inventor, the maker of the world’s food and clothes.

I am the audience that witnesses history. The Napoleons come from me and the Lincolns. They die. And then I send forth more Napoleons and Lincolns.

I am the seed ground. I am a prairie that will stand for much plowing. Terrible storms pass over me. I forget. The best of me is sucked out and wasted. I forget. Everything but Death comes to me and makes me work and give up what I have. And I forget.

Sometimes I growl, shake myself and spatter a few red drops for history to remember. Then—I forget.

When I, the People, learn to remember, when I, the People, use the lessons of yesterday and no longer forget who robbed me last year, who played me for a fool—then there will be no speaker in all the world say the name: “The People,” with any fleck of a sneer in his voice or any far-off smile of derision.

The mob—the crowd—the mass—will arrive then.

  • The tone of the poem is optimistic. The story is narrated by mankind as a whole.
  • The repetition of "I forget" shows how humanity overcomes disasters and moves on.
  • This poem conveys strong imagery, evoking sensual responses, visually and auditory

Tonal Analysis

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I Am the People, the Mob by rxp6833

I am the People, the Mob

I am the people—the mob—the crowd—the mass.

Do you know that all the great work of the world is done through me?

I am the workingman, the inventor, the maker of the world’s food and clothes.

I am the audience that witnesses history. The Napoleons come from me and the Lincolns. They die. And then I send forth more Napoleons and Lincolns.

I am the seed ground. I am a prairie that will stand for much plowing. TONE SHIFT Terrible storms pass over me. I forget. The best of me is sucked out and wasted. I forget. Everything but Death comes to me and makes me work and give up what I have. And I forget.

Sometimes I growl, shake myself and spatter a few red drops for history to remember. Then—I forget.

TONE SHIFT

When I, the People, learn to remember, when I, the People, use the lessons of yesterday and no longer forget who robbed me last year, who played me for a fool—then there will be no speaker in all the world say the name: “The People,” with any fleck of a sneer in his voice or any far-off smile of derision.

The mob—the crowd—the mass—will arrive then.

  • At the first tone shift, the poem takes a more violent turn.
  • At the second tone shift, the poem becomes more forceful.
  • The poem should be read like this for maximum impact.

Artistic Connection

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Giora Feidman - Yiddisch Mazurka by rxp6833
  • This poem compares a society to a well oiled machine.
  • This type of poem is similar to Klezmer, a Jewish style of music.
  • Klezmer comes from the Hebrew words kli, which means tool and zemer, which means to make music. Klezmer, which means tool of music, is similar to this poem, which portrays soceity as a tool, which is exploited by a being which narrates the poem.

Thematic Connection

The poem has an underlying theme of optimism: Always hopeful for the future, the engine knows (or thinks) there will be another savior that will change the direction in which the world is heading right now.
  • It demonstrates the universal belief of destiny.
  • It demonstrates the personal belief of united society.

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Nothing Gold Can Stay by Robert Frost by rxp6833

Nothing Gold Can Stay, by Robert Frost

Nature's first green is gold,

Her hardest hue to hold.

Her early leaf's a flower;

But only so an hour.

Then leaf subsides to leaf.

So Eden sank to grief,

So dawn goes down to day.

Nothing gold can stay.