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Gemma Jones

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Gemma Jones English Coursework How do the poets convey racial discrimination in the poems 'The Negro' by Langston Hughes and 'Prayer of a Black Boy' by guy Tirolien? I have read various poems which are all about racism but in different ways. In one of the poems a man needs to prove his existence just because a white man doesn't like the fact that he black 'document of my existence'. In another poem called 'Southern Cop' by Sterling Brown a white boy shot a black boy just because he was black and "because he ran". This shows that the boy was judged by his skin colour. After reading through all of the poems I have decided to compare and contrast 'The Negro' by Langston Hughes called poem A with 'Prayer of a Black Boy' by Guy Tirolien called poem B. Both poems use the first person 'I'. They are both personal accounts which makes the poems very moving and emotional 'They lynch me in Texas'. ...read more.


'Under my hand the pyramids arose'. The structure of poem A is repetitive and suggests that suffering is repeated and still going on. Even at the end of the poem he repeats that he is a Negro, which shows that no matter what, he will always be a Negro. Poem B has a different structure, six stanzas all of different lengths. The 'prayer' reflects the direction of the boys thoughts. 'Lord'. The structure of poem B also affects how we read it. Our pace is controlled and therefore the poem has a more random thoughtful atmosphere. Even though It has a different structure to poem A, both boys want the same thing, freedom from the white domination. Both poems use imagery to create an image of suffering. Poem A gives a physical image of suffering ' cut off my hands', gives and image of exploitation 'under my hand the pyramids arose'(it was black people who worked on one of the eight wonders of the world) and also conveys images of culture ' I carried my sorrow songs'(implication is, the songs are full of sadness because many black people were forced to leave Africa having being sold as slaves. ...read more.


Similes are used to convey race 'Black as the night is black' and sense of belonging 'Black as the depths of my Africa'. The poet also uses verbs 'told, carried, cut' to convey cruelty and suffering. In poem B the poet uses the metaphor 'school' to represent the white man's culture. The poet also uses adjectives to create a feeling of fantasy e.g. 'magic forests'. The poet uses language of desperation. He is praying 'please' this makes the poem a very sad one. I think that both poems are trying to get across the point that black people have been and always will be suffering. I think poem B is the most effective because the way each stanza changes from fantasy to reality. Although poem A is also effective with it's repeated lines, poem B, I think engages the reader for the whole of the duration of the poem despite it's length. The narrator expresses a desire to 'stroll along the sugar stores' and in doing so he firmly rejects white men's 'schools'. The feeling of tension conveyed has the effect of showing how claustrophobic discrimination is for the young man who seems to pray regularly and desperately to god! ...read more.

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