Langston Hughes, “I Too, Sing America” Chronicles An African-American Male’S Struggle With

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Langston Hughes, “I too, Sing America” chronicles an African-American male’s struggle with patriotism in an age of inequality and segregation in the United States. The poem cleverly uses metaphors to represent racial segregation faced by African-Americans during the early twentieth century. The speaker presents a battle cry for equality and acceptance, and his words are a plea and a declaration for nationalism and patriotism. Although, the poem does not directly imply racism, the speaker’s language suggests that he equates the kitchen to racial discrimination by the general American society. His word usage signals his wish to participate in a land that he proudly claims as his own despite his personal experiences of rejection. Despite…show more content…
The speaker uses end–stops to emphasize his confidence in his identity. The sextet has a plethora of metaphors which may stand for American society. Moreover, the speaker deploys imagery, such as, “darker brother”, “tables”, and “company” which frames America more as a salad bowl versus a salad bowl due to the lack of true integration into society (2). For instance, the imagery alludes that the poem’s theme is really about race and discrimination as one might assume when reading. Given these points, the poem illustrates the speaker’s critique of a larger order. In the following line, the line break allows the reader to pause before beginning the next line in the stanza, which introduces the imagery of a kitchen. The metaphor of the kitchen suggests the theme of a second class citizen subjected to segregation in the United States. In doing so, the speaker inadvertently compares his position to a servant when he states that the company shoos him away to eat in the kitchen like a servant against his own will. The speaker’s language suggests that he compares his position to the role of a servant and master to describe his present experiences with segregation. Despite being shunned due to his racial background, the speaker’s triumph is illustrated in a series of enjambements and commas that guide the reader: “But I laugh/And eat well” (5–7). Langston Hughes

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