Biographical and Historical Approach to Langston Hughes' "Dream Boogie" Michelle Cooks
January 30, 2012
A biographical or historical approach attempt to measure how much an author's life or history has influenced their writings. Most of the time, writings are strengthened when the author writes from a biographical or historical angle, and the importance of their history becomes significant when it is used to create characters that express it's values and examines trends that occur in that time period. When using a biographical or historical approach to an author and his work, it is important that the critic is familiar with the circumstances that the author writes about. The critic must explain whether or not the author's events or circumstances are similar to the events in their writing. Furthermore, the critic must determine if the author has other writings similar in style or theme to the writing they are analyzing and are there specific events or customs described or identified? Also, the critic must determine whether or not there is an ironic or satirical tone distinctive when historical references are made, and is the tone patriotic? Finally, in a biographical or historical approach, the critic must decide if the author gave a lot of attention to making the writing realistic (Clugston, 2010).
Langston Hughes was born to a black mother and a white father, but he spent most of his childhood in a black community in Kansas with his maternal grandmother during the time that America was segregated. In his young adulthood, he moved to Harlem, New York, which was another black neighborhood that suffered from white racial oppression (Tracy, 2004). Therefore, not only did he see the injustice of his neighbors and his community, but he also lived it. He wanted to become a writer, and his life as he knew it is what inspired his writings. Langston Hughes stated that most of his poems are racial in theme and treatment (Clugston, 2010). His writing...
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