Analysis Of `` If We Must Die ' Essay

Analysis Of `` If We Must Die ' Essay

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The Harlem Renaissance inspired, and was inspired by some of the greatest poets, musicians and artists of the century. Among these great minds, were the poets Langston Hughes, and Claude McKay. Though motivated by the same hardships, people, and events, the works of both Hughes, and McKay show glaring differences in the perspectives of the authors. Upon reading “Harlem” by Hughes, the audience may easily see the author’s more peaceful call to action. In contrast, after reading “If We Must Die,” one can infer that McKay prefers to call his audience to obvious (physical) action. Langston Hughes’s poem portrays a more passive overtone, while Claude McKay’s poem is more aggressive. There are, however, a few similarities between the two works of poetry. One of the few similarities the two poems actually share are to reveal the consequences of neglecting the inequality that was prevalent during this time in American history. Two different, yet slightly similar viewpoints were able to inspire large groups of people to stand up against racial inequality.
“What happens to a dream deferred?” (Hughes 506) That’s the question Langston Hughes asks in his poem, “Harlem.” In this poem, Hughes presents the audience with an image, an image that is much less than appealing, especially to his target audience (African-Americans who have experienced racism and injustice, as well as those of other races who oppose that injustice). This image is the author’s perspective on the treatment of “his people” in not only his hometown of Harlem, but also in his own homeland, the country in which he lives. The author’s dream of racial equality is portrayed as a “raisin in the sun,” which “stinks like rotten meat” (Hughes 506). Because Hughes presents such a b...


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...tated. A broader set of perspectives and beliefs about the same issue is effective in inspiring a broader, larger, and more diverse group of readers. The sad image that Hughes creates was most likely effective in reaching even the white Americans who already enjoyed their full freedom, by opening the eyes of whites and other unoppressed races to the plights of early African-Americans. In contrast, McKay’s poem was most likely more effective in rallying African-Americans specifically. The advantage of these (though not greatly) differing messages was immense, and underlines the importance of differing viewpoints, and also inspired different groups of people, in order to bring about a more rapid, and more universally agreed upon change. Against a tyrannical force such as a racist majority, these two viewpoints proved crucial as a weapon in the fight against that force.

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