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Langston Hughes

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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.

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