Poetry and Langston Hughes

Topics: African American, Black people, Langston Hughes Pages: 4 (1384 words) Published: October 8, 1999
Poetry and the World of Langston Hughes
Langston Hughes enchanted the world as he threw the truth of the pain that the Negro society had endured into most of his works. He attempted to make it clear that society in America was still undeniably racist. For example, Conrad Kent Rivers declared, "Oh if muse would let me travel through Harlem with you as the guide, I too, could sing of black America" (Rampersad 297). From his creativity and passion for the subject matter, he has been described as one of the most penetrating and captivating writers in the history of humankind. He also was described as "quite possibly the most grossly misjudged poet of major importance in America" (Jemie 187). He entrances you into his poetry, and at the same time, reveals the "nitty-gritty" truth in modern society. His works do not all contain the same attitude, but do have the same concepts of the lives of the common black folk (ALCU 313). "The Negro Speaks of Rivers"1 and "Harlem (A Dream Deferred)"2 are two examples of Langston Hughes' artistry in poetic expression that can be dissimilar while still expressing the same views on the tribulations of African-Americans. "Harlem (A Dream Deferred)" is short, to the point and opens up Langston Hughes' world of symbolism. In writing this, Mr. Hughes used symbolism so extensively that when most individuals read it, they do not grasp the true intent of each word. The images that Hughes conveys in Harlem are "sensory, domestic, earthly, like blues images" (Jemie 78). It possesses an aggressive attitude and displays the harsh reality of the world in which colored people live. He uses five objects that almost deceive the reader: a raisin, a sore, meat, a sweet, and a load. "Each object is seen from the outside and not fully apprehended" (Berry 132). Hughes uses personification on the raisin and the sore to force the reader into using an open mind. The raisin symbolizes the African-American in that he/she has fallen from a prosperous vine...

Cited: ALCU. Our Endangered Rights. Ed. Norman Dorson. New York: Pantheon Books, 1984.
Berry, Faith. Langston Hughes: Before and Beyond Harlem. Westport, Connecticut: Lawrence Hill & Company, 1983.
Jemie, Onwuchekwa. Langston Hughes, An Introduction to the Poetry. Ed. John Unterecker. New York: Columbia University Press, 1976.
McMahon, Day, and Funk. Literature and the Writing Process. 5th ed. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 1999.
Rampersad, Arnold. The Life of Langston Hughes: I Dream a World. Vol. 2. New York & Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988.
Walker, Melissa. Down from the Mountaintop. New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1991.
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