The Man with the Hoe Poem Summary and Analysis | LitCharts
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The Man with the Hoe Summary & Analysis
by Edwin Markham

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“The Man with the Hoe” is a poem by Edwin Markham, first published in 1899. Written at a time when workers in the United States had few protections and rights, the poem boldly critiques of the exploitation of laborers by a capitalistic, profit-driven society. Inspired by the French artist Jean-Francois Millet’s famous painting, which depicts a peasant who appears dejected and exhausted as he leans on his hoe, Markham’s poem was widely reprinted in newspapers, fueling a national debate about the treatment of labor in American society and the need for reform. Accusing the ruling class of moral failure, “The Man with the Hoe” is a protest poem, part of a tradition of literature concerned with social justice.

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