You and Simple
In a dark time for African Americans in the land of the free Langston Hughes shines a light on the struggle of keeping one's cultural identity when faced with oppression in the year of 1949. Readers of his article entitled, "Bop" are enthralled in a story where Hughes draws a parallel between what Bop music is and is not,in the form of a dialogue between two African American men. Hughes draws his readers in with descriptive imagery with a first person perspective and stylises his article in a way in which the message is easily accessible to general readers. And teaches in a passive way through the form of a question answer dialogue between two men on opposite sides of an issue. With his use of descriptive imagery Hughes envelops the reader into his world and puts them in the place of the unnamed narrator. Hughes starts the article off with, "Somebody upstairs in Simple's house had the combination turned up loud with an old Dizzy Gillespie record spinning like mad filling the Sabbath with Bop as I passed"(190). Immediately readers are thrown into a vivid setting that almost anyone from 1949 would recognize. He choses the place the story on the Sabbath or otherwise known as Sunday, a day often associated with rest and calm before the work week begins again, thus luling readers to subconsciously relax as they read the article. Following that we hear the first exchange of words between the two characters in this essay, "'Sit down on the stoop with me and listen to the music' said Simple. 'I've heard your landlady doesn't like tenants sitting on her stoop, I said. 'Pay it no mind', said Simple"(190). This exchange shows Simple is a friendly man, the kind of guy who would risk angering his landlord for you to join in on his bliss. Hughes sets this friendly atmosphere and nonchalant dialogue to draw readers into this world he's created. With his use of the first person perspective Hughes sets up the scene for the reader to take the place of the...
Cited: Hughes, Langston, and Bernhard Nast. The Best of Simple. New York: Hill and Wang, 1961. Print.
"Let America Be America Again” - Academy of American Poets.
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