Langston Hughes Critical Analysis

Only available on StudyMode
  • Download(s) : 993
  • Published : October 30, 2011
Open Document
Text Preview
Langston Hughes was born in Joplin Missouri in the year 1902. Langston Hughes, mother and father soon divorced when he was still a young child. His father Mr. Hughes moved to Mexico because he thought that a man of color had more opportunity living in Mexico than in the United States. His Mother moved them around very frequently, not to long after his father left Langston Hughes went to go live with his maternal grandmother Mary Sampson Patterson. During a time in American History were African Americans had no rights or freedom of speech or even a right to vote, and growing up in many different cities and living with many relatives, Langston Hughes experienced poverty and hardships. Hughes, used poetry to speak to the people. Langston Hughes was a poet, fiction writer, playwright, journalist, biographer, historian, anthologist, translator and critic. He is looked at today as pioneer of African American literature and the Harlem renaissance era. Hughes dedicated his poems to the struggles, pride, dreams, and racial injustices of African American people.

The way that Langston Hughes was brought up influenced his writings in numerous ways. His mother wrote poems and did dramatic readings, and read papers at the Interstate Literary Society, which was founded by her father. When Langston was little his mother used to take him to see plays very frequently. “He was strongly influenced by the Civil Rights, Harlem Renaissance, Segregation, Jazz music, and his Grandmother. His grandmother told him stories of African American heroes such as Frederick Douglas, Sojourner Truth and W.E.B. Dubois”(Weaver par.2) When his Grandmother died Hughes said she left him with the greatest legacy of all: “ She sat, looking very much like an Indian…in her rocker and read the Bible, or held Me on her lap and told…stories about people who wanted to make the negroes free…Through my grandmother’s stories always life moved, moved heroically toward an end. Nobody ever cried…they worked, or schemed, or fought, but no crying. When my grandmother died, I didn’t cry either” (MacNicholas 317).

Hughes had other influences other than just his grandmother. Mary Mcleaod Bethune also encouraged him. She encouraged him to go on a poetry reading tour of the south in 1931 and in 1932. On the tour he met: E.C.L. Adams, Margaret Walker, Nicolas Guillen, Jacques Roumain, Arthur Koestler and Boris Pasternak. All of those people “stimulated a creative outpouring of poetry, short stories, essays and further propelled Hughes into the nation and international consciousness as a writer worth serious critical consideration” (MacNicholas 318). His verse was “influenced thematically by the social realism of Lindsay, Masters and Sandburg, and technically by the rhythms of jazz”(Hunter 147). Langston Hughes was inspired by the rhythms of jazz music and was one of the first poets to incorporate his poetry to jazz music. Jazz music wasn’t the only influence that Langston Hughes had, he was influenced by the Civil rights, and how African American people in that time had to live their lives, the struggles of segregation and the Harlem Renaissance. He mostly writes about what is found in representative public expressions of Negroes… discrimination in education, employment and housing.

Langston Hughes is “praised for his use of folk material and his success in “catching the hurt” of black lives, the monotony of black jobs, and the “veiled weariness” of black songs”(MacNicholas 318). “Hughes poems and stories reveal the authors comprehension of Negro folk culture, his awareness of historical and individual forces at work in Southern life, and his implicit vision of a decisive moral encounter that will bring brotherhood to America” (Bone 87). Hughes writing was so raw, and true, he had a way of capturing emotion, emotion that everyone could relate...
tracking img