While waiting for my DC pictures to upload on Flickr/Facebook, I thought I’d do a quick post on an article I read today.
Last night I started poking around on databases for ideas on what I should do my final project on, and I happened to stumble on an article called “Whitman, Springsteen, and the American Working Class” by Greg Smith. I had to read this for two reasons. The first being that my mother is a HUGE Bruce Springsteen fan, and has spent the last two years converting me so that I will accompany her to shows on his cur
rent tour with the E Street band (we’ve been twice in the last year, and we’re going again in November) and the second reason being that it’s a pretty interesting comparison, considering Bruce Springsteen is kind of like the Walt Whitman of our (our parent’s?) time in the sense that America is his schtick.
The article discusses the success of the respective writers to reach/capture the American working class, something Whitman, as we all know, desperately wanted to do. Smith says that Springsteen wins this fight on both counts, and I have to agree. While the article mostly focused on Springsteen, it did bring up an interesting contrast between Walt and Bruce. Whitman represents the idealized American Dream, where America is continuing to expand, the industrial revolution is still in motion, and the working man is happy and robust (Smith refers to “I Hear America Singing”). Springsteen is concerned with destroying the fallacy of the American Dream, and truthfully portraying the American working class, destroyed by their blue collar jobs. Smith makes no mention of Whitman’s war poetry (I suppose that would be a bit of a tangent considering it was focused on the working class) but I wondered what comparisons he would have drawn between Springsteen and Whitman there. While he may have romanticized the working man, Whitman was of course dedicated to portraying the horror of war, just like Springsteen sings about the effects of the Vietnam war.
You can read the article here.
By the end of the article I was prepared to start working on in-depth comparison of Whitman and Springsteen, but I’m not sure there would be any real value to that analysis except that it would amuse me…