The civil rights movement may have technically ended in the nineteen sixties, but America is still feeling the adverse effects of this dark time in history today. African Americans were the group of people most affected by the Civil Rights Act and continue to be today. Great pain and suffering, though, usually amounts to great literature. This period in American history was no exception. Langston Hughes was a prolific writer before, during, and after the Civil Rights Act and produced many classic poems for African American literature. Hughes uses theme, point of view, and historical context in his poems “I, Too” and “Theme for English B” to expand the views on African American culture to his audience members.
Looking at the historical context of each poem shows that the political movements of the time had a large effect on Hughes’s two poems. The timeline between the two poems is an interesting one to analyze. “I, Too” was written in nineteen twenty-six and “Theme for English B” was written in nineteen fifty-one (Rampersad). Many events relating to the civil rights movement happened during the years between the two poems. The nineteen twenties were filled with racism, intolerance, and …show more content…
The speaker talks about how challenging his assignment to write about the truth when everybody’s truth is different (15). Race was a large factor in how the speaker saw himself. He was born in the South, a place where colored culture and people were widely rejected. The speaker has never felt free in his life: how could he complete this assignment about writing about the truth when it could not set him free? This is where “I, Too” and “Theme for English B” draw similarities. Race is an obstacle both speakers had to face but were able to successfully overcome it. In fact, the speakers embraced their race and made it their life’s determination surpass all
It’s no secret that inequality and racial discriminations were high back in the 1920’s and 1930’s. Langston Hughes was able to use his work to counterattack this way of thinking in America. He not only led a movement, but also set an example for others to follow. In the poems I stated above, you can tell the Harlem Renaissance influences on his
“Poetry is the rhythmical creation of beauty in words.” –Edgar Allan Poe. Poetry is one of the world’s greatest wonders. It is a way to tell a story, raise awareness of a social or political issue, an expression of emotions, an outlet, and last but not least it is an art. Famous poet Langston Hughes uses his poetry as a musical art form to raise awareness of social injustices towards African-Americans during the time of the Harlem Renaissance. Although many poets share similarities with one another, Hughes creatively crafted his poetry in a way that was only unique to him during the 1920’s. He implemented different techniques and styles in his poetry that not only helped him excel during the 1920’s, but has also kept him relative in modern times. Famous poems of his such as a “Dream Deferred,” and “I, Too, Sing America” are still being studied and discussed today. Due to the cultural and historical events occurring during the 1920’s Langston Hughes was able to implement unique writing characteristics such as such as irregular use of form, cultural and historical referenced themes and musical influences such as Jazz and the blues that is demonstrative of his writing style. Langston Hughes use of distinct characteristics such as irregular use of form, cultural and historical referenced themes and musical influences such as Jazz and the blues helped highlight the plights of African-Americans during the Harlem Renaissance Era.
When reading the literature of Langston Hughes, I cant help but feeling energetically charged and inspired. Equality, freedom, empowerment, renaissance, justice and perseverance, are just a taste of the subject matter Hughes offers. He amplifies his voice and beliefs through his works which are firmly rooted in race pride and race feeling. Hughes committed himself both to writing and to writing mainly about African Americans. His early love for the “wonderful world of books” was sparked by loneliness and parental neglect. He would soon lose himself in the works of Walt Whitman, Paul Laurence, Carl Sandburg and other literary greats which would lead to enhancing his ever so growing style and grace of oeuvre. Such talent, character, and willpower could only come from one’s life experiences. Hughes had allot to owe to influences such as his grandmother and great uncle John Mercer Langston - a famous African American abolitionist. These influential individuals helped mold Hughes, and their affect shines brightly through his literary works of art.
“Theme for English B” and “Let American be American again” share some similar elements. These poems both written by Langston Hughes both explain about inequality. Theme for English B revolves around the separation of the black and white man; the differences within each race were segregation was at a high point. Let America be America again revolves around the concept that America is supposed to be the land of the free, but to another race or background; it’s a total opposite. (I guess that being colored doesn’t make me not like the other folks who are other races. - Theme for English B). ...
...nly country to force the race into slavery, they were just the last to free the slaves, and also had the worst treatment for the blacks. For years races were discriminated in the country of America, and it still this way today. Poets such as Langston Hughes, Lucille Clifton, and Colleen McElroy were evolutionary poets who wrote about their desire for freedom and equal treatment. Langston Hughes poems were more about the building up of the tension that existed in all of his people who were ready to start fighting for their freedom. Colleen McElroy wrote about how the blacks in America still were apart of there past because of the color of their skin and simply just because of where they were from. Lucille Clifton wrote about the desire for the recognition her race and all of the other races of America, besides the Whites, would finally be appreciated for their work.
The poem “Theme for English B” tells a story of a man and his struggle to write to his instructor about deeper matters. The poem by Langston Hughes explains the situation of a colored man. Everyone sees that he is different but to himself he knows he is the same by heart. He writes from his heart and from his own perspective. He explains to his readers that everyone may seem him in a different light but he must know himself enough to make his own independent judgements.
Although “Theme for English B” was published in 1949, it has many of the characteristics that his earlier works from the Harlem Renaissance possessed. The rhythmic rhyming adds to the musicality of the poem. The language is simple, yet effective in making a very important social statement. An especially intense aura of American separatism is present throughout the poem. A sense of egalitarianism is also present throughout the poem: the instructor is just as much student as the student is professor, young and old each have much to offer the other, and black and white partake of each other.
During the 1900s, many African Americans experienced the effects of racial segregation but they still had hope, their oppression did not stop their belief for future change. In “I, Too, Sing, America”, Langston Hughes has makes it clear that he envisions change. In the beginning of the poem, he speaks of being treated differently than others in his home, making it hard to live equally. Hughes writes, “I am the darker brother, they send me to eat in the kitchen when company comes” (Line). He chooses to discuss this issue because his darker shade of skin in comparison to the other residents in his home, makes it possible for him to eat separately so that he will not be seen by the guests; this depicts segregation in his home due to race. Because of the racial conflicts that Hughes experiences, he hopes that there is some form of change in the future, where he can sit equally with others. He goes on to write, “Tomorrow, I’ll be at the table when company comes, nobody’ll dare say to me, eat in the kitchen “(Line). Hughes...
Langston Hughes’ poems “50-50” and “I, Too” develops a connection when it comes to the theme of isolation. In Hughes’,“50-50”, the woman describes how she feel that does not have support and is feeling detached from others. The woman explains to herself how she is, “all alone in this world, she said, /Ain’t got nobody to share my bed, /Ain’t got nobody to hold my hand” (1-3).The words “share my bed” (2) and “hold my hand” (3) suggest that the woman lacks fulfillment and moral support. In Hughes’, “I, Too”, the narrator explains how he is segregated from other people. The narrator explains that, “I, too, sing America./I am the darker brother./They send me to eat in the kitchen/When company comes” (1-4). The words “I, too, sing America” describe
To begin, these two poems discuss racism in the United States of America towards African Americans. Both poems were written during two completely different eras. One being from 1926 while the other dates from 2014. These two poems have been written almost 100 years apart, yet this subject is still as relevant today as it was in 1926. When Langston Hughes wrote “I, Too,” in 1926, I don’t think that he would’ve ever expected that a century
In 1920, Langston Hughes became the voice of black America. He was the inspirational voice of the African-Americans, the hope and motivation of many. Langston wrote about freedom of creative expression, about ordinary people leading ordinary lives, politics, America, dreams, equality and inequality. No surprise was created when his poem: “I, Too, Sing America” was about a black man wish and hopes to live a life with equality. This poem conveys the fact that despite the differences of color, all people living in America are Americans and have the right to be treated equally. Langston’s poem “I, Too, Sing America” illustrates the hope of equality, ambition and freedom of an oppressed person.
The writing of Langston Hughes in “I too” is significantly dependant on his point of view. The actions that occur in the poem are as realistic as they can get because Langston Hughes is speaking from the heart. He passed through the Harlem Renaissance and faced constant struggles with racism. Because of that, his writing seems to manifest a greater meaning. He is part of the African-American race that is expressed in his writing. He writes about how he is currently oppressed, but this does not diminish his hope and will to become the equal man. Because he speaks from the point of view of an oppressed African-American the poem’s struggles and future changes seem to be of greater importance than they ordinarily would.
Going home and writing an essay is what every teenager looks forward to after the bell. The thrill of the pen on the paper, the excitement of the clicking keys. I bet you are having a flashback to one of your essay memories at this very minute. The poem “Theme for English B” by Langston Hughes is about Hughes getting assigned to write a paper that “comes out of you”. Hughes proceeds to go to his house, write his paper, and portray what he feels on the separation and segregation of different cultures and races. Through his wide arsenal of literary devices, Hughes provides us with a clear theme. There is no valid reason for human beings to be divided, yet society pulls us apart.
In the poem “Theme for English B” by Langston Hughes, the first concept that might come to mind when reading the title is an English/ Literature assignment/ lesson or a universal message. “Theme for English B” is about a twenty-two year old, colored, college student in the twentieth century writing a poem for his English assignment. This college student speaks to his/ her instructor and telling him/ her that himself/ herself and a white professor are connected. That they’re associated because they’re both American and that they both don’t want to be associated with each other, but they are. What Hughes is saying is that we are all linked in one way or another, and that we are all equal. We are all human with imperfections and we all make mistakes,
Some critics claim that Langston Hughes depicted an ugly representation of black life in his poetry, but these poems exhibit the truth. The legacy of Langston Hughes’ writings has had a profound effect on American literature. He was one of the first African American poets. Due to his published success, he broke through the racial barrier in this country. During the Civil Rights Movement, he continued to write poetry and collections of works that demonstrated the hardship of blacks during the time. In his poems Ku Klux, Harlem, and Merry-Go-Round, Hughes shows the prominence of racial abuse, lack of opportunity, and segregation in African American life. The poetry of Langston Hughes impacted American culture by increasing awareness of the actual trials encountered by the African American population in America during this time period.