“Mother to Son” by Langston Hughes is a well-known piece written during the Harlem Renaissance. In this poem, Hughes uses a mother-figure as a narrator. She is speaking to her son and telling him about her life. She has had a rough life but has persevered to this point and plans on continuing that. She tells her son to never give up and to keep going even when it’s hard. The overall tone of this poem is one of hope and perseverance. When Hughes’ narrator says “Don’t you set down on the steps. ‘Cause you finds it’s kinder hard”, she is telling her son that there is hope and that he needs to keep pushing. The theme of this poem is that you should never give up and you have to have perseverance in order to accomplish anything. The speaker shows her son that she’s been able to do it and that if he continues in her footsteps and doesn’t give up then he’ll be able to accomplish things himself as well. I believe that even though the poem “Mother to Son” by Langston Hughes and the song “If You’re Going Through Hell” by Rodney Atkins are written in very distinct and separate eras, they are very similar in their tone and their theme. This poem and song are very much connected in their tones. “Mother to Son” has a distinct tone of perseverance and hope and “If You’re Going Through Hell” shares this tone as well. When Atkins says “But the good news is there’s angels everywhere out on the street/ Holdin’ out a hand to pull you back up on your feet”, he is showing that even when you’re feeling down, there is a way to get back up and keep going. These pieces are also similar in their theme. They are both written to share the message that you always need to keep going and persevere no matter what you’re going through. Atkins talks about the same kind of pain that the narrator in the poem also talked about. It is plain to see that even in different generations, the themes of perseverance and not giving up are very prominent in people’s minds and writing. Poem and Song #2: The Love of One’s Homeland
“The Tropics in New York” by Claude McKay was written during the Harlem Renaissance and is a very well-known poem. In this poem, McKay uses imagery to describe the wonderful homeland that he left. He reminisces about his home and is eventually overcome with grief and is brought to tears because of the longing in his heart for his homeland. There are many tone shifts in this poem. He starts off being cheerful but this soon changes to mournfulness. Then, as McKay remembers that he’s stuck in a foreign land, his “eyes [grow] dim” and he “[turns] his head and [weeps].” Through his tone and his actions in this poem, McKay reveals to us that the theme of this poem is that the love of one’s homeland can be rooted into the very soul of someone. He shows this from the perfect view he has of his homeland at the beginning of the poem and the emotion that he is overcome with at the end of the poem. Even though the poem “The Tropics in New York” by Claude McKay and the song “Home” by Dierks Bentley were written in very separate eras, they share a very similar tone and theme. The theme shared between these two pieces is very hard to miss. While McKay is talking about his home in Jamaica and Bentley is talking about the love of his home in America, they both share the theme that the love of one’s homeland is very deeply rooted into someone and can even be inseparable. The tone between this song and poem is also very similar. They are both written in a way that clearly shows the authors’ love of their homes and the authors’ longing to be in that place as much as or as soon as possible. When McKay describes the scene in Jamaica as having “dewy dawns, and mystical blue skies” you can hear the love that he has for that place deep in his heart. Also, Bentley describes America as his “blessed motherland” which shows how much he cares about his home. It is very easy to see that while this generation and generations of past may not be connected on a surface level, themes such as the love of one’s home persist across many different generations.