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Langston Hughes poems

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Introduction

Langston Hughes's poems "Negro Mother", "Let America be American again" and "Mother to Son" express the status of African Americans in early 20th century American society, and the hope they have for their future. In all three of these poems, Hughes positions the reader to empathise with the African Americans of the early 20th century. Hughes employment of imagery, structure and contrasting the ways of which the reader is positioned to view both African and white American help the audience to gather an understanding into Hughes feelings about their past treatment, and the hope they hold. Hughes employment of imagery influences how audience view the treatment and status of the African Americans in the early 20th century. ...read more.

Middle

It also connotes the need for equality like the need for air, a necessity of life. They are further mentioned as the "Negro, bearing slavery's scars ... servant to you all". This explains how the African Americans were forced as slaves, with no right to be earning money like others. The poem Mother to Son is similar to Negro Mother as it is written from a mothers perspective who's "life ... ain't been no crystal stair". The mother's life is described as "stairs" that had "tacks in it, and splinters, and boards torn up". This connotes the racism, discrimination and low status they were compelled to endure during the early 20th century. Hughes use of imagery in these three poems assists the reader in sympathising with the African Americans lack of equality. ...read more.

Conclusion

In the poem there are two groups of three sentences which all begin with "and". These sentences all describe and list, metaphorically, how the African Americans had to overcome several obstacles. Let America be America's is written in stanza's and also features many examples of repetition. In most stanza's, most of the sentences begin with the same word; for example stanza one with "Let" and stanza 4 with "I am". The use of repetition reiterates the discrimination they faced, and the status they possessed. For example in the fourth stanza, most of the sentences begin with "I am" and lists "I am the poor, white, folded, pushed apart, I am the Negro bearing slavery scars ..."etc. The way in which Hughes structures the poems, particularly the use of repetition, gives the reader a further understanding into how the discrimination determine the status of the African Americans. ...read more.

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