| Quote #1
Stormy, husky, brawling,
When the poem begins, it almost sounds like the speaker is describing a sexy muscle-man. And then we find out that those "Big Shoulders" belong to the city, not to some tough hog butcher with great biceps. Oops. That's some intense personification going on.
| Quote #2
They tell me you are wicked and I believe them, for I have seen your painted women under the gas lamps luring the farm boys.
Here the speaker acknowledges all of the bad things about the city—violence, hunger, etc. He's not blind to Chicago's faults, not one bit. He loves the city despite all of the bad things about it. This is not some silly puppy love in which the speaker idolizes his love object. He loves the city's faults as well as its strengths.
| Quote #3
And having answered so I turn once more to those who sneer at this my city, and I give them back the sneer and say to them:
Despite all its faults, the speaker really does love his city. It's just so gosh darn alive that he can overlook some painted women and gunmen. Is the speaker having a delusional moment here? Can you really love a city that is so utterly imperfect? Does the poem think that this love is irrational?