• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Langston Hughes

Extracts from this document...


Langston Hughes Langston Hughes, an inspirational, black poet, was first recognized as an important literary figure during the "Harlem Renaissance" in the 1920's. In fact, in many of his poems, he adds in "Harlem" to give meaning and experience to his writing. He was the first black writer in America that earned enough from his writing to support himself. Hughes's "The Negro Artist and the Racial Mountain" 1926, demonstrates his belief in the character and how they must overcome obstacles and "climb the mountain" to free themselves from inequality. Langston Hughes wrote poetry from the heart and chose as his themes unsolved conflicts from his real life experiences. First and foremost he was a Negro who could expound upon the sufferings of the people of his black culture yet do so with pride. He embraced the Negro culture and had distaste for those who tried to emulate the life of whites. His strong roots within the Harlem renaissance were reflected in his poetry. Hughes felt sorry for blacks who felt they had to try to write as white poets. Many of his poems reflected the struggle for African American freedom. He also showed empathy for the struggle of all races, and dismay regarding the failure of the American dream. ...read more.


If the black poet never overcomes that "mountain" then they are never going to be able to love themselves for who the truly are. In Hughes's, "Hold fast to Dreams" the line "life is a broken-winged bird" is a metaphor saying that life has its flaws and it is never perfect. "Bird" has a strong connotation of freedom. Every American is different, but should be treated equally, so why not be yourself and have pride in the race that you were born into? The struggles of a black woman are outlined in the poem, "Mother to Son." Stairs are a metaphor for the uphill battle of life. The mother's diction reflects her lack of education as does her informal dialogue about the hardships she endures, illustrated by "tacks and splinters." "Cause you find it's kinder hard don't you fall now" is saying that life is difficult but it is important to overcome the battles and forge ahead. It is important to not give up because you only have one life, and the life you are given is your own individual one, not to be influenced negatively by others. One should embrace cultural influences. Hughes was inspired by rhythm and jazz. Jazz is musical expression of life. ...read more.


In this parallel repetition, all races have something in common with each other. He is saying there it is the way of the world for the powerful to take advantage of the less advantaged people. He has a dream of America being free and equal. The dream of what could be is what keeps people going. "America never was America to me and yet I swear this oath, America will be." Another prominent theme running through many of these poems are dreams that are not yet realized. In his "hold fast to dreams" life without a dream is compared to a barren field frozen with snow. Again, in Harlem two, what happens to a dream deferred? Hughes uses visual as well as sensory imagery to describe the dream that is set aside. It may "fester like a sore, stink like rotten meat, or crust and sugar over like a syrupy sweet." Langston Hughes's poetry eloquently discusses racial inequality as well as the failure of the American dream. His messages however, have an optimistic quality about what can someday be achieved. He paved the way for many others in the literary as well as political world to address the racial divide in America. He truly was proud to be an African American and embraced his culture's history as well as detailing his hopes for the future. ?? ?? ?? ?? Jay 1 ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our International Baccalaureate World Literature section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related International Baccalaureate World Literature essays

  1. 100 plus maketing plan

    and marketing a product; or setting prices to make a target profit. Potential substitutes: F&N constrained by the monopolistic market in which it competes. The main characteristic however is product differentiation. 4.4 Promotion Strategy Objectives: * To initiate strong awareness about the launch of Isotonic Drink throughout Generation Y (10-29 years old)

  2. Mother to Son, by Langston Hughes has the central theme of life being a ...

    dark where there ain't been no light," which can symbolize hopelessness or even a lack of understanding as to where she is climbing, and what the purpose of the climb is. The tone of the poem is uplifting because it points out that mothers always want the best for their children.

  1. How does Hughes use different voices to present his ideas about African American experience ...

    We see it in the afternoon, then change into the night with neon lights flashing and then into the morning, full of rest and solidarity. This poem is a wide collection of different poems that Hughes produced throughout his lifetime all stuck together and made into one great big giant collaboration of a poem.

  2. Extended Essay - A Dream Deferred Both Jay Gatsby from The Great Gatsby and ...

    The people who lived in the city of Harlem were changing the way the city looked and felt. Harlem was a dream city for many African Americans because they were the main ethnic group in the city. Hughes had lived in many different cities where he endured hard times because

  1. Salvation by Langston Hughes and Conversion of the Jews by Philip Roth are about ...

    He is respectful of Jewish ceremonies, his reverence to his religion can be seen when he watches his mother light the candles for the Sabbath. It was said that Ozzie thought there should no sound when his mother lit these candles, it means a lot to him.

  2. Roots. "Roots" is the inspirational story, written by Alex Haley. Haley researched his ...

    The seven day harvest festival is upon them and they begin preparing for it. On the last morning of the festival, a half a dozen men enter each hut, and take the boys who are ready for man training away.

  1. Racism in African-American Poetry | Poetry Anthology Project

    Religious references play a chief role in the poem. The speaker opens the poem by stating that God is good. However, the entire poem revolves around the apparent paradox of God's kindness juxtaposed with not so great things in life. The topic of race is lately introduced in the poem.

  2. Commentaries on the poem Let America be America Again by Langston Hughes and "Happy ...

    She doesn?t exactly explain the personalities of John or Mary, but you can pick up hints like when Mary says ?She sleeps with him even though she?s not in love with him?. If they were living like A how does that fit into the guidelines of that lifestyle?

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work