Let America Be America Again By Langston Hughes

Better Essays

Nothing is more fascinating nor more compelling than the study of our own human condition. Often the most enthralling and alluring way of expressing the human condition can be found within the very literature we read, in particular, poetry. Poems are an expression of art; a way to simultaneously condense emotions in the pursuit of an ideal. One ideal of particular note is inspiration. So let me ask you this: if we live in a world where inspiration is so easy to come by through poetry, why is our world plagued with inequality and injustice? Why is it the case that race relations, racism and bigotry are never far from the surface? That, ladies and gentlemen, is my question to you. I’m your host James Pullen – welcome to Peace and Poetry.
Let …show more content…

Hughes describes the true experience of the oppressed; his particularly deliberate language and exceeding use of sound imagery did not hinder this well-directed message, it did quite the opposite. Hughes presented a very clear and vivid perception of how the “American Dream” was becoming corruptible and had been dominated by prejudice. He wanted to swiftly disband, disassemble and demolish such a belief, and he did so through the publishing of “Let America be America Again”. In this poem, Hughes declared that change was over the horizon. He declared that there was more than just a sparkle of hope. And he declared that there was always a helping hand for the oppressed. Lines 6-9 clearly exemplify this declaration. Hughes says: “Let America be the dream the dreamers dreamed/Let it be that great strong land of love/Where never kings connive nor tyrants scheme/That any man be crushed by one above”. This was an influential stanza. Hughes extended this belief to his often reference phrase the “Homeland of the …show more content…

Hayden implied that brutality against minorities was a matter of oppression. He insinuates that violent oppression was representative of the attitudes, values and beliefs of the clear majority of white Americans at the time. Hayden knew all too well that America was a tainted breeding ground for the ‘second class’ citizen. The unconventional mood of the poem is descriptive and explicitly gruesome depicting white Americans as being triumphant and celebratory over their pitiless slaughters. This style strengthens the message and makes the evil acts more shocking, appalling and fearfully sadistic. This is particularly evident in lines 14-16 where Hayden says: “Unbucked that one then/and him squealing bloody Jesus/as we cut it off” – alluding to castration of the black African. Hayden, freely and bluntly exemplifies the use of consistent violence and racial targeting against African-Americans. He implicitly depicts this violence as outrageous through his use of emotive and visually triggering language. His last line, “O night betrayed by darkness not its own” summarises the entire poem; he implicitly put judgement and onus upon white Americans that racial discrimination. This message reveals how the African-Americans were ‘betrayed’ by skin colour, rather than the true darkness of the night. Whereas “White robes like moonlight” alludes to the Ku Klux Klan and emulates their actions as being ‘pure’

Get Access