Themesin Langston Hughes Poems
LangstonHughes is one of the prolific poets during the 1960 who advocated forthe rise of the opposition to the racial discrimination in thecontext of American society. Langston Hughes was an Americannovelist, poet, a columnist, a social activist and a playwright bornfrom Joplin Missouri. One of the main reasons why Langston gotinspired to be a social activist was because he was from a negroorigin, who faced high end social and racial discrimination. Theeminence of the works of Langston was made evident between the years1920s and 1960s in which he mainly focused in carrying socialactivist on the Harlem renaissance. With poems as his main weapon,Langston address the notion of social injustices that the blackAmerican fraternity faced from the whites (Spann,Sylvia, and Mary, 7).The final essay gives an in-depth analysis of the themes that areevident in the Langston’s poems. In this context, racialdiscrimination in the light of Harlem renaissance is discussed withkeen attention to unveiling the probable connotation of social racialissues and the numerous injustices that this part of the communityfaced. The occurrence of unfulfillment of the dreams of the Blacksdue to the impediment they get from the from the white fraternity isdiscussed and how they are connected to the main theme of racialdiscrimination. The impact of the racial and social injustices asleveled by the whites have also been discussed as its relates to thepoems of Langston.
Oneof the overriding themes that has been explicitly investigated in thepoems is the advent of social and racial discriminations from thewhites. Taking a critical look at the poem ‘Harlem’, the pomerevolves around addressing the predicaments the African Americansfaced while trying to realize the American dreams. The pome unveilsthe limitations of the American dream in the context of Africans byexplaining the economic hardship and the prejudice that these groupof people faced especially in the South. Going into history, itshould be remembered that during the 1950s, America was stillseparated on the racial lines. It these times, the blacks faced a lotof oppression from the whites such as the separation of the type ofeducation offered (Hughes,3).
Itis at these times that the African Americans were encompassed withthe legacy of slavery in which they were deemed to be the subjects ofthe whites and offered cheap labor for them. Langston being a negrowas one of the victims of these racial discrimination and as hewrites, he has the conviction of the what the Africans faced in thehand of the whites (Spann,Sylvia, and Mary, 2).In this prospective, the Africans in the American soil were treatedas second class citizens in which certain rights and freedom denied.The denial and oppression of these blacks is well explained by‘Harlem’ where Langston advocates on the rooted discrimination interms of education provision and political rights of expression. Thepome also explores the fact that racial discrimination was alsoimminent even in the making of the laws that governed these states.Indeed, various acts were made that were deemed to be quiteoppressive to the blacks especially in the South (Miller,4).
Hughestouches on how law was used a way of instilling oppression to theNegros. It should be noted for example that the poem “Harlem” waswritten only three years after the discriminatory law was institutedin the United States by the supreme courts. The case between Brownvs. Board of Education was ruled by the supreme court that there iswould distinct schools that separates whites and the blacks in termsof going to school. This was unconstitutional as addressed by Hughesin his poems. Inn this line of thought, Hughes was well aware of thepredicaments and the pressures that he faced as a black American.Therefore, the tone with which Hughes postulates his works is indeedengraved, sympathetic, melancholic, hopeful and quite resigned. Thecomplicated experience Hughes had made it quite substantiallysuccessful for Langston to depict his inner feelings as concerns thetheme of racial and social discrimination (Spann,Sylvia, and Mary, 2).
Hughestitled this lyric "Harlem" after the New York neighborhoodthat turned into the focal point of the Harlem Renaissance, anoteworthy imaginative blast in music, writing, and craftsmanshipthat happened amid the 1920s. Numerous African American familiesconsidered Harlem to be an asylum from the successive separation theyconfronted in different parts of the nation. Tragically, Harlem`sstyle blurred toward the start of the 1930s when the Great Depressionset in – leaving a significant number of the African Americanfamilies who had succeeded in Harlem penniless yet again (Miller,1).
Thespeaker muses about the destiny of a "fantasy conceded." Itis not so much clear who the speaker is –perhaps the writer, maybea teacher, maybe a vague dark man or lady. The question is aneffective one, and there is a feeling of quiet after it. Hughes thenuses striking analogies to bring out the picture of a delayed dream.He envisions it becoming scarce, rotting, stinking, crusting over,or, at last, detonating (Hughes,2).These pictures, while not inside and out fierce, have a marginallydull tone to them. Every picture is sufficiently strong to make theuser notice, feel, and taste these disposed of dreams. As perLangston Hughes, a disposed of dream does not just vanish, rather, itexperiences an advancement, moving toward a physical condition of rot(Spann,Sylvia, and Mary, 4).
Thespeaker does not allude to a particular dream. Or maybe, he (or she)recommends that African Americans can`t dream or seek toextraordinary things as a result of nature of persecution thatencompasses them. Regardless of the possibility that they do hopeagainst hope – their great arrangements will putrefy for so long thatthey wind up decaying or notwithstanding detonating. As faultfinderArthur P. Davis composes, "When [Hughes] delineates the trusts,the desires, the disappointments, and the profound situateddiscontent of the New York ghetto, he is communicating the sentimentsof Negroes in dark ghettos all through America." (Hughes,1)
"Themefor English B" is in actuality one of Langston Hughes` mostwell-known, dearest, and anthologized sonnets. He composed it in1951, the night of his profession, and it addresses one of his mostuniversal subjects – the American Dream. Specifically, "Themefor English B" looks like "AmericanHeartbreak"and "LetAmerica Be America Again."The lyric is composed in free verse and does not have a precise frameor meter its dialect is basic and easygoing, and it streams in acontinuous flow style (Miller,12).
Thepoem focuses on a youthful student whose teacher has requested thathe compose a page about himself with the admonition that the pageshould be "valid." The speaker thinks about himself, takingnote of that he is twenty-two years of age, "shaded," andconceived in Winston-Salem, N.C. He records the schools he has goneto and clarifies that he is presently an understudy in New York (hemost likely goes to Columbia University or City College of New York).As he strolls home, he understands that he is the main "shaded"scholar in his class. This was a typical event amid the Jim Crowtime, since African Americans had more trouble getting access intotip top schools than their white associates (Spann,Sylvia, and Mary, 3).
Onhis page, the speaker starts by communicating his conviction that itis difficult to comprehend what is valid at such a youthful age. Hedistinguishes himself with Harlem, bringing out the sounds and sightsof the city, asserting to hear Harlem, and, in truth – all of NewYork (Galens,David, and David, 2).While he feels like a peculiarity at school, he fits in insideHarlem, which is the place he is generally content. He records aportion of the ordinary yet significant things he gets a kick out ofthe chance to do – eat, rest, "comprehend life," listento music – and brings up that being "hued" precludes himfrom preferring similar things that white individuals like (Hughes,2).
Insummary, the overriding themes in the poems of Langston areoppression and discrimination of the blacks by the whites. Theeminence of the works of Langston was made evident between the years1920s and 1960s in which he mainly focused in carrying socialactivist on the Harlem renaissance. With poems as his main weapon,Langston address the notion of social injustices that the blackAmerican fraternity faced from the whites.
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Hughes,Langston, and Amos Paul Kennedy. TheNegro speaks of rivers.Disney Jump at the Sun Books, 2009.
Hughes,Langston, and Arna Wendell Bontemps, eds. Thebook of Negro folklore.Dodd, Mead, 2014.
Hughes,Langston. "The Negro Artist and the Racial Mountain.” 1926."TheCollected Works of Langston Hughes9 (1773): 31-36.
Hughes,Langston. SelectedPoems of Langston Hughes.Vintage, 2011.
Hughes,Langston. Thecollected poems of Langston Hughes.Vintage, 1994.
Miller,R. Baxter. TheArt and Imagination of Langston Hughes.University Press of Kentucky, 2015.
Scott,Jonathan. Socialistjoy in the writing of Langston Hughes.University of Missouri Press, 2016.
Spann,Sylvia, and Mary Beth Culp. "Thematic Units in Teaching Englishand the Humanities." (2015).