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Past Present Future

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Past, Present, Future "If you don't now your past, then you won't have a future." This holds true to plenty of African Americans from all walks of life. Oppression-- a fixation that lives in the African American history - still roars its ugly head even in this present day. They have been thought of as inferior to the white superiority. Though struggling through these times, they continue to find a way to come together with one another. A common tradition of African Americans happens when aged generations sit down with the youth to recount old memories through stories. Langston Hughes incorporates this common practice through his speaker's relations of past events in his poem "The Negro Mother". Acting as the speaker, the Negro mother unifies African Americans of the past, present, and future for a common purpose: to achieve her American dream. Langston Hughes takes on the persona of a Negro mother to represent the people of the past generation. The Negro mother affirms, "Children, I come back today/ To tell you a story of the long dark way" (lines 1-2). ...read more.


She continues, "I couldn't read then/.../ I had only hope then" to symbolize her recollection of memories to her kids through highlighting such words like "then" (lines 22, 32). She describes how "the valley was filled with tears/.../ the road was hot with sun/ .../ I had to keep on till my work was done" (lines 24-27). The hardship that she went through comes across in these couple of lines. We as the reader can envision all that she says. She does this to paint a clear picture to her "children" and doing this in return, helps illustrate her point to the readers, as well. She continues to describe how she "nourished the dream that nothing could smother" to explain the perseverance that she kept aflame just to keep the dream alive (line 30). Through pronouncing this, the concept of the American dream rises to the light. A shift in tone shows the persistence in the Negro mother when addressing the future. She introduces a new tone, "... ...read more.


He starts off by introducing the speaker in a first person point of view to represent people of the past generations. In doing this, the speaker attains the ability to internalize the past. The words she chooses to use transitions the poem from the past into the present state. Incorporating this enables her to speak on behalf of the older generation about the hardships of slavery; and through the tragedies of the hard times, the spark of the dream she possesses gradually increases. The way she tells the children about her dream, forces the tone of the poem to change from reflective to declarative. The strength of the words allows for her to call the children into action using definite active verbs. In doing all of this, her persistence comes across very strongly which in turn forces her words to register in the minds of the reader. In this present state, we cannot have a future without knowing our past. So in order for the reader to adequately fulfill the dreams of the speaker, the negro mother had to transport the reader into the past to help them visualize the struggle so that her dream would not be taken lightly. ...read more.

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