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I, Too Sing America: Internal Discrimination and Awareness of It

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In the beginning of I, Too (1926), the speaker explains that he is of darker skin and is not accepted as an equal due to his race; however, the reader can interpret that his message is to explain that he too is America. The reader can interpret that the man is a servant due to when the poem was written, in the 1920s, six decades after slavery was abolished in the United States. The speaker explains the discrimination against himself, and most likely other African-Americans in America when the man is sent to eat in the kitchen, suggesting that due to his race, he is not accepted as an equal, or true American. The “table” is a symbol for equality, where if the servant eats at the “table”, it’s considered an equality, or racial equality between himself and the homeowners. The “kitchen” is symbolized as discrimination, where the servant must eat in solitary. This also symbolizes unacceptance, for there is no equality or similarity seen between the servant and the homeowner’s company. A repetition of the word “And” is common and alliteration is shown throughout the poem. 

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The title, I, Too, is an extended metaphor, for “I, too, sing America”, and “I, too, am American”, claiming that he is no different even if he’s an African-American, and has equal rights and freedom just like any ordinary American. The speaker’s, demeanor is of great pride and joy by stating, “But I laugh/And eat well/And grow strong.’, explaining that prejudice and discrimination can’t break his spirit and embraces the fact and joy of being an African-American. The speaker’s, tone shifts to a calm steady, patiently waiting for the day that non-black Americans realize how wrong they were to treat their fellow “darker brother” and realize the sameness of one another between themselves and African-Americans. The speaker embraces that non-black Americans will “see how beautiful I am”, in which this a sensory image for acceptance, that white American won’t consider his race as unequal, instead notice his stature of being an American. The theme is of perseverance and self-acceptance for the servant. The other theme would be for white Americans to realize equality among all and to be nondiscriminatory against anyone, who they believe is different than of their nature. I, Too is centrally about the awareness of discrimination and racial inequality that surrounds America, and that it takes one person to realize and accept change.

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