In this poem, the poet keeps referring to how he has been treated unfairly and has been constantly judged based on the color of his skin. This is emphasized in the seventh and eighth lines of the fifth stanza---“ Will I still be ill-fated? Just because I'm black?”. From this rhetorical question the reader is able to better understand how unjustly the poet is treated simply based on the color of his skin. Due to these inequalities he comes across, the poet begins to get persuasive in his writing as he begins to speak out to the reader regarding himself striking back the enemies. For instance, in the eighth stanza he writes--- “You can't say I didn't fight. You can't say I wasn't with you in each battle” and furthermore in the ninth stanza “Or will you stand up like a man At home and take your stand For Democracy?”. The poet writes very persuasively like this in order to create psychological effect in readers which shows how successful he has been in grabbing their attention and making his point clear. No more endurance, no more tolerance. Revolt is the only option left in order to get their voices heard and make a change.
The poet uses similes in order to illustrate the inequalities he is forced to come across and the injustice he has to endure. For instance he writes--- Or will you do me as the Germans did the Jews? When I've helped this world to save, shall I still be color's slave?”. The poet compares himself with the Jews and compares white skinned Americans as the Nazi Germans who brutally tortured the Jews even after they were promised freedom through much diligence. What the poet is trying to imply through this simile is that he thinks of himself as a trapped individual in his own nation and even through constant tediousness and diligence, he still would not be treated equally nor be granted liberty. Hughes also uses metaphors in his poem in order to catch the reader’s attention. For instance he says in the first stanza ---“I’m a Tan-skinned Yank, driving a tank. I ask,WILL V-DAY BE ME-DAY, TOO?”. We can see how the poet fuses a metaphor with a rhetorical question. What the poet is trying to imply through this is how he is the dark skinned rebel and how he is going to fight back in order to get his one and only desire, which is not to be judged based on his skin and be treated equally in society. Lastly, Hughes also uses personification in his poem in order to depict a revolutionary road in which he wishes to walk on. For instance he writes in fifth stanza --- “When we see victory’s luminous glow, will you still let them hold me back?”. Here ‘Victory’ is personified as luminous and bright. What Hughes is trying to imply through this use of personification is that when he does reign triumphant at achieving justice and equality, his colored comrades must stand by his side and defend that honor. In conclusion, figurative comparisons are employed to enable the reader to visualize a vivid picture.
Another point which can be made is that Langston Hughes makes numerous amounts of reference to Jim Crow in this poem. Jim Crow is notoriously known for his strict rules and regulations which involved black individuals being treated unequally in society. Hughes keeps on making reference to Jim Crow in this poem and speaks against the laws of Jim Crow. For example he writes --- “Will you still let old Jim Crow hold me back?” and “Here in my own, my native land, will the Jim Crow laws still stand?”. The poet is trying to imply that he will no longer stand for the unjust laws of Jim Crow and he demands justice and to be treated equally. The poet also fuses similes with his reference to Jim Crow in this poem. For instance “When this war comes to an end ,will you herd me in a Jim Crow car like cattle?”. What the poet is trying to convey to the reader through this simile is that his triumph can never be celebrated if he is herded away in Jim Crow’s car after the fight is finished and if he is herded away in Jim Crow’s car, all his hard work of fighting for liberty and justice would be for nothing.
To conclude, Langston Hughes uses a range of stylistic devices in this poem in order to describe his sight of racial combat due to inequality and injustice among colored individuals in America. We are also able to catch the presence of intensive visual imagery in this poem which the poet uses in order to enhance the plight of America due to segregation, inequality and injustice among colored individuals. Hughes also makes reference to Jim Crow (a notorious individual who created rules that never treated black individuals equally) and speaks against him in his poem. Therefore through the poet’s usage of various stylistic devices, the reader is able to adopt a better understanding of the injustice, inequality and revolt which the poet has felt.