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Let America Be America-An essay on the American Dream, and how Am...

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Let America Be America-An essay on the American Dream, and how America today has defered from that dream.

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  • September 22, 2004
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Let America Live Up to its Promise

When people from oppressed lands hear America, they immediately think of jobs and freedom, an opportunity to begin a new life. They imagine a place in which the streets are literally paved in gold, and they dream of a country where everyone is treated equal. Immigrants envision a country where their children can attend school to obtain a proper education, and a country where their children will not go to bed with hunger in their stomachs. In Langston Hughes' "Let America Be America Again", he writes of the "American dream", but he writes of the dream by exposing the reality. Hughes believes America has not lived up to its promise to minority groups, but someday, it will live up to its promise.

Throughout "Let America Be America", it is important to note that Hughes repetitiously uses the word dream. For example, line 6 states, "Let America be the dream the dreamers dreamed." Repetition of "dream" shows that the "American dream" for so many is merely a dream and nothing more. However, at the beginning of this line, "Let America be", Hughes is pleading to the reader to allow the dream to become a reality.

Before Hughes sees the light at the end of the tunnel, the hope that someday America will live up to its promise, he exploits the shattered dreams of so many groups of immigrants, of the many people that have been denied the "American dream". One group America has not kept its promise to is African Americans. Hughes writes, "I am the Negro bearing slavery's scars" (l. 20). A scar is a permanent mark on one's body, and it is a symbol of great pain. Although slavery does not exist anymore, African Americans still suffer from the emotional pain they endure because of the color of their skin. This line shows America has broken its promise because part of the promise is equality for all, and in no way have African Americans been treated equally.

Another example that shows America has not lived up to the expectation of...