Friday, April 4, 2008

Introduction: I, Too by Claude McKay

1)Kckay, Claude. "I,Too." The Norton Introduction to Poetry. Comp. Paul J. Hunter, Alison Booth, and Kelly J. Mays. Ed. Peter Simon. New York, London: W.W. Norton and Company, 2007. 438.

2) This poem is about a black man who is clearly a slave. He speaks about eating in the kitchen and his supposed inequity to his masters. But he proclaims that he too is American.

3) What caught my eye about this particular poem is the opening line, "I, too, sing America" (1). I like that he does not say he is American too, but that he "sing[s]" America, like he supports the country and is just as American as everyone else who sings about it. The simplicity of the poem's statement and the speaker's optimism about being treated equally and not "eat[ing] in the kitchen" (13) is what lured me to write about this poem.

4) "I, Too" is compatible with "The Town Dump" by Howard Nemerov because both poems have traits that are not apparent at first glance. In "I, Too" the speaker does not appear American, but he is, and in "The Town Dump" a dump does not look like a city or to have any value, but to some organisms live there and one man's trash is another's treasure. Overall, the subjects of these poems are not similar in the slightest, but the message each portrays is similar.


Sara Bouchard said...

I read this poem in an American Lit. class. I enjoyed this poem- it is concise and to the point. The repetition in such a short poem adds emphasis. I like the comparison you made because I would have never compared this to "The Town Dump," but what you said makes sense to me.

woodstl said...

I wrote used this poem in my compare/contrast assignment along with McCay's "The White House." Those two poems function together both being constructions of African-American writers. Your comparisons works, but they are somewhat stretching ideals.