Gorman’s “The Hill We Climb” Poem Analysis
The Hill, We Climb, depicts the hill – a metaphor for the difficulties that the country is facing – that the United States is currently climbing, socially and politically, and how far the country still needs to go before it reaches the top of the hill. Amanda Gorman wrote and performed The Hill We Climb for Joe Biden’s inauguration as President in 2021. The poem praises the US not as a “perfect union” but as a nation facing its challenges. The poem describes a long and sometimes painful “climb” up the “hill” of justice that requires patience and humility. It is not easy, but diligent Americans can always envision and be the “light” of a better tomorrow. Themes, structure, symbols, repetition, and figurative language are some of the elements for analysis, as the poem depicts the path the country has to follow to be socially and politically fulfilled.
In The Hill We Climb, the poet examines optimism, the future, and past themes. The poem’s key idea and what she wants readers and listeners to take away. She refers to America stepping out of the “shade” and towards the light several times (Gorman). She reminds the reader that change takes time. Those that reach outlay down their firearms and allow themselves to be inspired by the natural beauty of America will have a better future.
Structure and Form
The Hill We Climb, by Amanda Gorman, contains no rhyme scheme or metrical form. The poem is written in free verse, although it has rhyme and rhythm. The poem’s rhyme structure defines it almost as much as its subject matter or historical setting. Lines one and three use the terms “shade” and “wade” as well as “beast” and “peace.” There are also half-rhymes—as lines 62 and 64 use “trust” and “us,” respectively.
In The Hill We Climb, the poet examines symbols like the “Hill” and “Unity” Gorman’s first poem is about the hill. It symbolizes the current social and political hill the US is climbing and how far it has to go before reaching the top. As previous inaugural poems have noted, The Hill We Climb acknowledges that America is not perfect. Everyone must now work together to bring the country closer to harmony, where everyone’s needs are satisfied and contributions valued. Unity is the ultimate purpose of The Hill We Climb, notwithstanding the current political situation. Gorman believes the United States of America will finally be able to unite. People of all races and religions will be embraced and valued for their differences.
The poem’s language is excellent, using simple pictures to explain deep themes. While the title “hill” is an attractive natural feature, it also serves as a metaphor for the complicated web of challenges facing Americans today and in the future (Gorman). By portraying the future as a single slope, Gorman makes it less intimidating, more understandable, and hence simpler to deal with. Recent social issues are rarely explored in detail, and when they are, they are simplified. Gorman makes good use of rhyme to keep the poem moving along smoothly. There is a promise to a glade, a hill must be a climb, that “success will not lay in the blade, but in all the bridges we’ve created” (Gorman).
When the phrase “the hill we climb” appears in these lines, the audience’s attention is immediately drawn to that particular line, especially since it is the poem’s title. Another example of Gorman’s futuristic vision can be seen in the contrast between the anaphora and the progression of ideas. There is hope for harmony and peace as the words “blade” (symbolizing violence) and “made” (denoting creation and connection) are followed by the word “glade” (a tranquil natural clearing).
Gorman uses phrases from American history to demonstrate her intent to alter the course of the country. When the line “in this faith we trust” refers to the American motto “In God, we trust,” it is a spoof on that phrase. Gorman changes the original motto by adding the word “this” and substituting “God” for “faith,” which emphasizes democracy’s resiliency rather than religious faith. The motto has been updated by Gorman, illustrating the kind of revisionist history she proposes in the poem. “Windswept northeast” and “gold-limbed highlands of the west” are just two examples of Gorman’s use of repetition in these concluding lines, which take her from west to east. She says that the country will “rebuild, reconcile, and recover” in all of these places and more. This country’s “diverse and lovely” people will rise to the challenge and lead the way into the future. A memorable line at the poem’s end assures the listeners that they will be “brave enough” to see the country’s need for light in this new dawn.
The essay shows the poem as a tool and a wake-up call to all Americans to change their norms, signifying its themes, structure, and figurative language. Moreover, the poem ends with a call for people to rise around the land. Gorman stresses the value of bravery in these uncertain times by repeating the same words but changing the ending. Gorman has sparked action by revealing the flaws in American history, urging the audience to construct a new one.
But the last two sentences remind us of the work left to do and that a progressive future is based on “if.” America is strong yet kind, shattered but entire, and its people will help realize this vast and magnificent experiment. Even when the risks are enormous, bravery and courage are paramount. This shows that we have a journey to get and achieve social and political goals, and the people should effect the changes.
Gorman, Amanda. “The Hill We Climb: The Amanda Gorman Poem that Stole the Inauguration Show.” The Guardian, 2021.