Rhetorical Analysis Of Langston Hughes 's ' The American Dream '

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‘America’ is a complex, layered idea; one that becomes all the more complex when the deeply embedded construct of race comes into play. As a black man born into a time of overt racial prejudice, Langston Hughes was all too familiar with the double consciousness that came with life as an American minority. This roller coaster is the subject of the vast majority of his literary work and has continued to be a major presence and inspiration for literary work everywhere today. Hughes shows a deep loyalty to the ideals that brought the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights into fruition and, through repeated motifs of the American Dream, seeks to bring about calm in a time of social and political unrest. The poem “Let America Be America Again,” “Afro-American Fragment,” and “As I Grow Older,” are a few of the most vivid examples of his ideals through poetry. Analyzing these poems through cluster criticism supports Donald B. Gibson’s conclusion that “Hughes’ commitment to the American ideal was deep…and abiding. He held on to it despite his acute awareness of the inequities of democracy, and he seemed to feel that in time justice would prevail, that the promises of the dream would be fulfilled” (45). Hughes felt that the oppression of him and his people by a white supremacy was coming to an end and was ready to receive the justice that had been constantly denied to his people. Cluster analysis, created by Kenneth Burke, finds the writer’s worldview within a text.

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