Analysis of Langston Hughes Goodbye Christ

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Apart from his apparent disgust for the desolate life that the African Americans were subjected to, Langston Hughes also portrays an evident mistrust of religion, not necessarily towards religion itself but particularly towards those individuals who use religion as a cloak to conceal their true duplicitous and oppressive nature. In arguably he’s most controversial poem, Goodbye Christ; Langston Hughes takes on the role of a disillusioned Christian and repudiates the doctrines set forth in America, which was supposedly a Christian country. After his visit to the Soviet Union in 1932, Langston Hughes experienced the mechanisms of Socialism; he immediately noted the differences between the Soviet Union and his own country, America. Whereas, in America, he was subjected to racial discrimination and his people underwent a long history of oppression, slavery and segregation, he noted that in the Soviet Union, "white and black, Asiatic and European, Jew and Gentile stood alike as citizens on an equal footing protected from racial inequalities by the law” and so he called for people to question the dominant American beliefs, and to adopt and accept the views of Marxism. Although the title of the poem “Goodbye Christ” as well as the content suggests renunciation of Christianity, the word Christ in the title, acts as an analogy for Capitalism and the main themes of the poem are actually a repudiation of Capitalism and a renunciation of the immoral and hypocritical use of Christianity. Whilst examining the poem in chronological order, I shall scrutinize the two main themes of the poem, in relation to Langston Hughes history and political ideology. In the first stanza, the persona is seen addressing Christ, asking him to leave as he is no longer wanted. The persona explains that there exists an immense difference in today’s world, compared to what things were in the times of Christ. Although the speaker acknowledges that Christ’s presence may have had a significant impact...
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