The poem Lenox Avenue: Midnight by Langston Hughes describes the urban life in Lenox, New York City. Hughes describes his town as a changing mood of life, this is seen in his first two stanzas, the rhythm of life, is a jazz rhythm. Through these first stanzas the city is pictured as a place full of emotions where you can never be happy with your life, which could most likely be caused by the city who is making his life worthless. The poet also sounds heartbroken when he mentions the following: he broken heart of love, the weary, weary heart of pain, this also sounds as if he is resentful with the city for x reasons. This feeling of resentment towards the city is seen again in the last stanza, and the gods are laughing at us. This stanza and the poem in general makes it sound like the city is a where there is lack of equality and that there are people in the city, perhaps the poet, who feel powerless and unworthy. The depiction given in this poem about the city validates my own beliefs. I personally believe that in a city many individuals are forgotten especially if they are people of color. There was also a time in history when people of color, especially black people were treated badly and were not heard or respected, instead they were oppressed and laughed at – “and the gods are laughing at us”.
Another poem by Langston Hughes is I, Too, Sing America. Similarly, to the first poem, the city is pictured as an injustice and discriminatory place. The second line, “I am the
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Born ten years after the death of Walt Whitman, there was no possible way for Langston Hughes to ever meet or communication with Whitman, but that did not mean Hughes could not establish a connection to him, or at least his work. In 1925, Hughes wrote a poem titled “I, Too” was inspired by and directed in response to the poem “I Hear America Singing”, which was composed by Whitman much earlier. Whitman’s poem consisted of a variety of different American laborers who “sing” as they do their jobs. This well-known poem never specifically addresses the ethnicity of these singing laborers of the American population, but Hughes sets about to rectify that omission.
There is a very powerful message in Langston Hughes poem I, Too, that message is we are all Americans no matter what differences we have. During the Harlem Renaissance, African Americans were treated just like Africans, even though they were born in America. All of them at that time were born and raised in America, that should make them American. Hughes says in his poem “I, too, sing America”(1). Hughes says he is American just like
Langston Hughes was a poet with many artistic abilities. His writing and drawings established the lifestyles of many African Americans during this time. In a poem called “I, Too” Hughes express his feelings as an African American, a brother, and someone who deserves to fit in society. He states “I, too sing America” (1039). Hughes saw himself as an individual who has a voice in America even though his skin is a little darker. In a poem called “Democracy” Hughes states: “I have as much right as the other fellow has to stand on my own two feet and own the land” (1043). Hughes was speaking for every African American whom were still dealing with segregation, racism, and freedom.
Langston Hughes wrote a poem that some believe is in response to a poem Walt Whitman made. Walt Whitman’s poem “I hear America Singing” is basically a description of the people who made up America at the time. The mothers, the carpenters, the masons, the shoemakers, the wood cutters, etc, were all the different types of people that made up what America, said of the poem. With Langston Hughes's poem “I, Too, Sing America”, the poem is making a sort of claim that Hughes’s and blacks alike also have a right to feel patriotic towards and be a part of America. Both poems are pretty similar to what they’re subject is (America), but they are quite different when it comes to what exactly the two poems are mainly focusing on.
The voice of one person can send a profound sound into the hearts of people to help liberate one’s mind. That profound sound is seen through poetry. The creative structure and style of poetry creates a different form of writing that can either have rhythm, alliteration or have a direct message. In the poem “I Too Sing America”, by Langston Hughes had a significant message in that he desired to voice his expression on the issue of black oppression in America. Langston basic themes focused on the American Dream and the possibilities of hope and advancement were constantly present in his poetry. The tension between the unrealized dream and the realities of the black experience in
Langston Hughes and Claude McKay share similar qualities in their respective poems “I, Too, Sing America” written by Hughes and “America” written by McKay. These poems, though different and unique in style, share common characteristics that make each poem a classic piece of American literature. Hughes and McKay, both African American males, were very notable during the Harlem Renaissance period. Both writers express their views on their individual African Americans perceptions in America in these poems, through their use of diction, tone, theme.
In I, Too, Sing America when Langston Hughes writes of a darker brother who is told to eat in the kitchen you know that he is talking about African Americans. In this poem Langston Hughes writes a stanza that changes your idea of what the poem is about. He says “ Tomorrow, I’ll be at the table when company comes. Nobody’ll dare say to me, “Eat in the Kitchen,” then”. This line is is clearly stating the main idea of the poem right there. It’s telling us of how now there is segregation, but one day in the future all men will be equal.
In today’s society we face a lot of issues, but there is one issue that stands out to me most. Which these two poems address, that is injustice towards other race in America. In Langston Hughes “I Too” and “The Weary Blues” the trouble of unjust towards African Americans, weigh on the speaker’s mind. Each poem reflecting on the same issue just a little bit differently.
Written in the first half of the 20th century, “Let America Be America” is a poem that documents and responds to the oppressed state of the United States, in both the past and present. The poem is a plea for a return to the original principles of freedom that our country has seemingly forgotten. Additionally, the speaker sees America as the broken home to oppressed people who have lost sight of the ultimate goal of freedom and happiness. Although America is often perceived as the “land of the free,” Langston Hughes’s poem contradicts this ideology by not only painting a vivid picture of oppression in America but also by providing a desperate hope for the future.
In the fight for equality, people of color often feel isolated and separated from those whose privilege reinforces their oppression. However, there are and always have been white people who see the inequalities that are practiced in society and speak out against them in hopes of reaching equality for all. Langston Hughes used his voice in poetry to express his experience as a black man in the United States during the Civil Rights Movement, and his is a household name. There is no doubt that his words have power. The reader expects to feel his experience and gain empathy and understanding through his poetry. In his poem, “Let America Be America Again,” Hughes presents his experience of American life in a powerful contrast to the experience
Langston Hughes’s poem I, Too published in 1926 speaks at great length about the American identity: to be an American is an issue that transcends race, and all Americans should be treated equally. Writing from the perspective of an initially subservient African American, Hughes presents a story that begins in oppression and ends in triumph. A throwback to the prior institution of slavery, the setting of I, Too is confined to a single slave owner 's house; yet, it paints an image of struggle, growth and unity like none other of its time.
“Let America Be America Again” becomes personal for the audience which is what makes this poem so easily appreciated and enjoyed. The poem refers to the many races and backgrounds by referring to, “the poor white, fooled and pushed apart” or “the Negro bearing slavery’s scars” (Line 19 and 20). Whether the reader is poor, rich, white, black, or Indian the poem goes in detail of how for better or worse everyone makes up America. With Langston Hughes being African American, he obviously witnessed and endured racism and hardships, but he broadened the discussion by not only mentioning the Negros, but of the poor whites and the “red man” to make
According to Biography, James Mercer Langston Hughes is considered to be an African American poet who is college educated and comes from a middle-class family (Langston Hughes Biography). He attended college in New York City and became influential during the Harlem Renaissance (Langston Hughes Biography). Although Hughes was a talented writer, he faced some challenges early on and it was stated that his “early work was roundly criticized by many black intellectuals for portraying what they thought to be an unattractive view of black life” (Langston Hughes. American Poet). They believed that his work helps the spread the stereotypes of African Americans. “Hughes, more than any other black poet or writer, recorded faithfully the nuances of black life and its frustrations” (Langston Hughes. American Poet). Langston Hughes’s poems “The Negro Mother”, “Let America be America Again” and “The Weary Blues” were influenced by his life during the Harlem Renaissance and the racial inequality experienced in the late 1920s through the 1960s.