Self Worth and Pride in Langston Hughes’ Poems
Self worth and pride show up in the poems of Langston Hughes in vague, but important ways. In his poems Hughes talks about the role of African Americans in society today and how it misleadingly reflects on their part in building and keeping America strong. He also talks a lot about dreams and ambitions and never to let the ideas of self worth and pride stand in the way. Thirdly Hughes refers to the illusion of worthlessness and how you need to stand by your beliefs in order to reach your dream.
In many of Langston Hughes poems he talks about the roles of African Americans in society during that time, and how it poorly reflects on how important of a role blacks played in building America. Many of Hughes poems have references of slavery and hard work for blacks and how that played into their self worth and pride. In the poem Mother to Son Hughes says “Life for me ain’t been no crystal stair. Its had tacks in it, And splinters, And boards torn up, And places with no carpet on the floor, Bare. But all the time I’se been a-climbin’ on, And reachin’ landin’s, And turnin’ corners, And sometimes goin’ in the dark Where there ain’t been no light. So, boy, don’t you turn back.” In many of his poems Hughes talks about the struggles blacks have to take and if they can learn use pride as a strong suite, than they can go far. One important aspect that Hughes talks about that directly plays into self worth is how blacks ultimately where a key factor in the building of America and they are still mistreated, used and never acknowledged for how important they were. In the poem Let America Be America Again this shows up and directly ties into self worth. “And torn Black Africa’s strand I came to build a “homeland of the free.” The free? Who said the free? Not me.” This poem explains how without slavery and African Americans, America would be a very different place and perhaps not as powerful.
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