The Jazz Age’s View of America The nature of an ideology is completely personal; one’s interpretation may vary greatly from another’s interpretation. This is demonstrated in the two poems, “America” by Claude McKay and “Let America be America Again” by Langston Hughes. Both of these poems emerge from the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s, and though these two poems each describe an ideological viewpoint of America as a place and a concept, the two speakers view the subject differently from one another. Both poets employ similar sound devices, yet the tones and themes vary between the two works. Hughes’s poem, “Let America be America Again” conveys a forward-looking, emboldened tone. The speaker acknowledges the suffering of all of the different people, from the “poor white” (Hughes 19) to the “red man” (Hughes 20) to the “Negro” (Hughes 32). The speaker attempts to name all who have suffered in America, but continues to dream that …show more content…
In line 6, the speaker requests that “America be the dream the dreamers dreamed” (Hughes). This sing-songy style coupled with the repetition of the word “dream” underlines the importance of the message of the poem by reiterating the point the author wishes to make: Americans wish America truly was the place where man can seek his fortune. Hughes also plays with rhyme: throughout the poem, the lines often end with an “ee” sound, though no formal structure is employed. The speaker states that America is a place where man is “seeking a home where he himself is free/(America never was America to me)” (Hughes 4-5), and at the end of the poem, the speaker repeats “America never was America to me” shortly followed by “America will be!” (Hughes 92-94). This repetition of rhyme highlights the speaker’s hope that he, along with his fellow countrymen, will one day be free. Hughes’s belief of a better tomorrow is demonstrated in this
Although Langston Hughes’ “Why, You Reckon?” is a short story, it encapsulates differences between races and classes in American society. The story highlights the desperate and hopeless lives of poor African-Americans in Harlem, New York, who would do anything just so they can fill their stomachs. Hughes adds a contrast by putting in a white man who uses his money and privileges to try to experience the exuberance of Harlem but fails to do so. Written in 1934, during the peak of racial divide in America, Langston Hughes’ “Why, you reckon?” shows that real experiences, not money, contribute to happiness.
This poem is often compared to Walt Whitman’s I Hear America Singing because of the similarities of the two poems. In this poem, Hughes argues that the African American race is equal to whites. Hughes even declares that one day the African American race will be equal to whites. Hughes proclaims, “Besides, They’ll see how beautiful I am and be ashamed-I, too, am America.” Hughes was very bold and daring when he wrote these lines in this poem. He is implying that the white people will regret what they have done to blacks. That they will be ashamed of how they treated them. Undoubtedly, this poem expresses Hughes cultural identity.
“America the melting pot.” An expression used by many and often said in a prideful manner. We Americans like to think of ourselves as all accepting and welcoming to everyone, and while that may be true in general, discrimination still exist throughout the country. Fortunately, racism has significantly lowered thanks to the Civil rights movement. Each American can now express who they are without a major fear of contempt or prejudice. Prior to the Civil rights movement, racism ran rampant, particularly in the south. The Harlem renaissance, which took place throughout the 1920’s, helped spur the Civil Rights movement. It was around this time African Americans really started to push themselves forward in society. One successful poet of that time is Langston Hughes. Two of his well-known poems, “Theme for English B”, and “I, too America,” should be recognized for expression of the common thoughts and ideals of African Americans of the time who faced racial segregation. In “Theme for English B”, Hughes shows the reader that despite the lines drawn by society, he is an American and a part of his fellow man although there may be physical differences. “Yet a part of me, as I am a part of you. That’s American.” Hughes does a wonderful job in both his pieces depicting the racism of the time. He shows that no matter your background you are equal to those around you.
This poem is written from the perspective of an African-American from a foreign country, who has come to America for the promise of equality, only to find out that at this time equality for blacks does not exist. It is written for fellow black men, in an effort to make them understand that the American dream is not something to abandon hope in, but something to fight for. The struggle of putting up with the racist mistreatment is evident even in the first four lines:
“I swear to the Lord, I still can't see, why Democracy means, everybody but me”. These are the words of Langston Hughes, a black writer and poet from the early twentieth century. This man was famous for his portrayal of the realities of black life and culture in America. Although some literary critics may feel that Hughes’s poetry presented an unattractive view of black life, his poetry demonstrated the reality of their lives. Many of Hughes’s poems stand out in their description of the black experience. Some of the poems that stand out include “Ku Klux,” “House In the World,” and “Children’s Rhymes.” These poems delve into the world of fear, segregation, and the lost innocence of black culture. These poems genuinely demonstrate the difficult lives most black people had to live.
Poems are expression of the human soul, and even though, is not everyone’s cup of tea when the individual finds that special poem it moves their soul one with the poet. There are many poets in the world, but the one that grab my attention the most was no other than Langston Hughes. It would be impossible for me to cover all the poems he wrote, but the one that grab my attention the most is called “Let America Be America Again.” It first appeared in “1938 pamphlet by Hughes entitled A New Song. Which was published by a socialist organization named the International Worker Order” (MLM) and later change back to its original name. I have never felt such an energy coming out of a poem like this one which is the reason that I instantly felt in love with it.
Langston Hughes, a renowned poet from the early 1900s, has written numerous poems that have various themes and meanings. Although a lot of his poetry has to do with the struggles of African Americans during the time of slavery or during the early 1900s, Langston Hughes’ themes differ from poem to poem. One theme that appears in multiple poems of his is the theme of race, Langston Hughes uses the theme of race in his poems as a way to challenge the racial barriers that are placed on society. The theme of race is discussed in a plethora of his poems and it is important to examine a few of these poems which include, “I too, sing America”, “Theme for English b”, and “Let America be America Again”, to point out that Hughes tries to implement the sense of hope into African Americans of the time, also he uses race as a way to provide a focus on the oppression of slaves.
The four poems by Langston Hughes, “Negro,” “Harlem,” “The Negro Speaks of Rivers,” and “Theme for English B” are all powerful poems and moving poems! Taken all together they speak to the very founding of relations of whites and blacks all the way down through history. The speaker in the poem the, “Negro” and also, “The Negro Speaks of Rivers,” tells the tale of freedom and enslavement that his people have endured, and it heralds their wisdom and strength. The poems “Harlem” and “Theme for English B” speaks to the continuous unfair treatment that the blacks have received at the hands of white people throughout the years.
A situation can be interpreted into several different meanings when observed through the world of poetry. A poet can make a person think of several different meanings to a poem when he or she is reading it. Langston Hughes wrote a poem titled "I, Too." In this poem he reveals the Negro heritage and the pride that he has in his heritage and in who he is. Also, Hughes uses very simple terms that allow juvenile interpretations and reading.
Langston Hughes’ poem “let America be America Again” shows the many challenges a country faces to be its best self. Countries are controlled by human beings who are not perfect and it is a reflection of their ideas beliefs and values and as people change a nation change as well. However, a nation must live up to the expectation of the people and hold their beliefs and values to be its truest self possible. If a nation can not do this then it is up to the people to foster
Often depicted as a melting pot, America is always being put on a pedestal by the rest of the world due to the large amounts of successful immigrants in the United States. Millions of people have packed their bags and moved to America in hopes of achieving their dreams. While some succeed, others fail and are let down by the dim reality that not everyone can achieve their goals. This essay will compare the poems, “Let America Be America Again” by Langston Hughes and “The New Colossus” by Emma Lazarus to exhibit my perspective on both works. Both poems portray people’s hopes that America will be great, however, due to the different eras and the authors’ backgrounds, the poems have different meanings. Lazarus’ poem was written in the early stages of America, as it describes her cheerful
The poems I Hear America Singing, by Walt Whitman, and I, Too, by Langton Hughes, both convey ideal American societies in which to live in. However, while Whitman’s poem focuses on the present American society and highlights the positive attributes of it’s culture, Hughes’ poem is based on the American ethos’ current flaws, while also looking to the future for a more optimal society in which to live.
Everybody has a dream whether they are willing to admit it or not. Some have achieved their dreams, some are still working towards their dream while many have given up. When Hughes asked what happens to a dream deferred, he explored a human consciousness that forces people to abandon their dreams. It is a powerful question which commands a sense of silence after it. With each stanza he evokes powerful and negative images of abandoned dreams. The message is that abandoned dreams do not simply vanish because you are not chasing them. Instead, they go through an evolution which gets worse before exploding. Hughes became frustrated with the number of blacks in Harlem succumb to an oppressive environment. Before he became a renowned poet, novelist,