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Sandburg, Carl. "Graceland".


The first stanza states that a multi-millionaire's tomb, his last long home, is decorated each year with flowers worth 25 000 dollars. The dead man commanded this in his last will.

The next stanza is placed in brackets. It says that there are hundred cash girls accepting nickels for movies, hundred saloons with women drinking with men and waiting for silver dollars, and hundred rooms with girl shop assistants working for six dollars a week.

In the morning, when a shop assistant girl goes to work, she is absolutely reckless about God, news, police, or her own name.


- a narrative poem of social protest

- uses irregular stanza and free verse, its long lines resemble prose

- simple, non-figurative language

- a third person point of view, neutral tone

- a naturalistic description, sympathetic, but free of pathos

- the poem's main effect lies in the juxtaposition of its two stanzas

- the multi-millionaire keeps on wasting money on himself even after his death, but the over-worked girl does care even for her name, not to talk about the decoration of her grave

- shows the paralysing effects of tough life and poverty despite hard work


  • Author

    Sandburg, Carl. (1878 - 1967).
  • Full Title

  • First Published

    In: Chicago Poems. NY: Henry Holt & Co., 1916.
  • Form


Works Cited

Sandburg, Carl. "Graceland". (1916). In: The Harper American Literature. Ed. Donald McQuade et al. 2nd Compact Edition. NY: Harper & Collins, 1996.


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