“The poet’s life is the focusing glass through which passes the determinants of the shape of his work: the tradition available to him, his understanding of “Kinds”, the impact of special experiences (travel, love, etc.).” (Fielder 1431). Biographical criticism is the practice of analyzing a literary work by using knowledge of the author’s life to gain insight. (1492). One could see the biographical criticism present in most of Hughes’ poems. Most of his poems were about his life experiences, including his unfair treatment from white people. Hughes and many other African-Americans were denied basic rights such as eating in certain restaurants, using certain bathrooms and attending good schools. It is easy to see the connection between his experiences and the impact it had on his works. The connection is evident in the time period in which he created most of his work. Being a young black male during the 1920’s, Hughes was constantly discriminated against by the color of his skin. This did not make life a piece of cake for Hughes and other African Americans during this time. Because of that harsh reality, the themes of his work exemplify the African American’s fight for racial equality by writing about his culture being denied basic rights. Two good examples of this are shown in his poems “I, Too” and “Island”. In these two poems Hughes writes about being discriminated against because of the color of his skin while showing confidence that one day things would be different and they would be considered equal in society.
Around the time of the twenties, there was a big boom of African American culture. Out of this came the renaissance of Harlem, a hot spot for African American poets, musicians, and ...
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...to have the freedom and rights that white people were born in to. Hughes showed his confidence in a better day for his race by stating that he still saw the island. He knew one things would be different for his race generations to come.
Hughes, Langston. “I, Too”. Literature an Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, and Drama. X.
J. Kennedy and Dana Gioia. Longman. 2002. (761-762).
Hughes, Langston. “Island”. Literature an Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, and Drama. X.
J. Kennedy and Dana Gioia. Longman. 2002. (763).
Fielder, Leslie. The Relationship of Poet and Poem. Literature an Introduction to Fiction,
Poetry, and Drama. X. J. Kennedy and Dana Gioia. Longman. 2002. (1431).
Pickney, Darryl. Black Identity in Langston Hughes. Literature an Introduction to
Fiction, Poetry, and Drama. X. J. Kennedy and Dana Gioia. Longman. 2002. (773).