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I Am the People-The Mob

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Nengi Obomanu

on 11 March 2016

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Transcript of I Am the People-The Mob

I Am the People-The Mob
Audio of Poem
Discussion Questions
After hearing the brief history on Sandburg's life and reading the poem is it evident to see the parallels between the two. What are they?

What is Sandburg trying to convey by mentioning Lincoln and Napoleon?

Is there a stark shift in tone? How does that apply to the message?

Carl Sandburg often drew inspiration from perils of the industrial revolution in his work. In what ways is this poem commenting on industrialization?

After looking at the definition of mob, mass, and crowd does Sandburg insinuate that violence will break out if something isn’t done

Journal Prompt
Sandburg’s poem, “I am the people, the mob” pays tribute to the common working class of Chicago but is applicable everywhere. Focus specifically on identifying two literary devices and connecting them to the overall message of the poem. Also, in connecting back to the working class, reference an “unsung” hero in history whom you believe has been overlooked in history.

Literary/Syntactical Devices
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
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.

Carl Sandburg
1878 - 1967
Social and Political Atmosphere
Modernism: literary period which is marked by break in tradition. Emerged due to changes in changes based on the cultural, political and social atmospheres after the war.
This poem was written in 1916. During this time period World War 1 was taking place. America was thriving industrially building new machinery and weapons to send to Europe. They're also debating joining the cause after 128 Americans were killed in the sinking of the Lusitania the year prior.It would not be until the following year that a decision will be made.
Sandburg was also influenced by other areas of conflict growing in America such as race and urbanization of cities
The People Behind The Fame and Fortune
Discussion Questions
What services are done by the working class in society today?

Do you believe the working class truly run the world?

The speaker in the poem says “I am the seed ground” what could he mean by that?
Full transcript