During the 1920's and 30’s, America went through a period of astonishing artistic creativity, the majority of which was concentrated in one neighborhood of New York City, Harlem. The creators of this period of growth in the arts were African-American writers and other artists. Langston Hughes is considered to be one of the most influential writers of the period know as the Harlem Renaissance. With the use of blues and jazz Hughes managed to express a range of different themes all revolving around the Negro. He played a major role in the Harlem Renaissance, helping to create and express black culture. He also wrote of political views and ideas, racial inequality and his opinion on religion. I believe that Langston Hughes’ poetry helps to capture the era know as the Harlem Renaissance. One of the advantages of how he wrote his poetry is that it can take hold of people by exemplifying his accounts of the everyday life that the disenfranchised experience. Hughes took on the injustices that other dared no to speak of. He wrote about how the African-American people of the 1920’s suffered the plight of racial inequality. In many cases I believe that Hughes used his writing as an instrument of change. In “Come to the Waldorf-Astoria” (506) Hughes tackles the drastic disparity between wealthy whites and the African Americans of the 1930’s. This piece displays an unconventional style for a poem; using satire to capture the reader’s attention. By using this satiric form of poetry Hughes is able to play on the emotions of the white reader, while at the same time inspiring the black readers. Hughes is constantly comparing the luxuries of the Waldorf-Astoria to the hardships that the African American people were experiencing. “It's cold as he... ... middle of paper ... ...ss, representing the truth of the times. The majority of the problems influence only the one dreamer, however, the ending suggests that, when despair is everywhere, it may "explode" and cause social and political uprising. “Harlem” brings to light the anxiety between the need for Negro expression and the opposition to that need because of society’s subjugation of its black populace. His lines confront the racist and unjust attitude common in American society before the civil rights movement of the 1960s. it expresses the belief that black wishes and dreams were irrelevant should be ignored. His closing rhetorical question—“Or does [a dream deferred] explode?”—is aggressive, a testimony that the inhibition of black dreams might result in a revolution. It places the blame for this possible revolution on the domineering society that forces the deferment of the dream.
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
1920’s Harlem was a time of contrast and contradiction, on one hand it was a hotbed of crime and vice and on the other it was a time of creativity and rebirth of literature and at this movement’s head was Langston Hughes. Hughes was a torchbearer for the Harlem Renaissance, a literary and musical movement that began in Harlem during the Roaring 20’s that promoted not only African-American culture in the mainstream, but gave African-Americans a sense of identity and pride.
There has been much debate over the Negro during the Harlem Renaissance. Two philosophers have created their own interpretations of the Negro during this Period. In Alain Locke’s essay, The New Negro, he distinguishes the difference of the “old” and “new” Negro, while in Langston Hughes essay, When the Negro Was in Vogue, looks at the circumstances of the “new” Negro from a more critical perspective.
“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.
R: Comprone, Raphael. 2005. Poetry, Desire, And Fantasy in the Harlem Renaissance. University Press of America 2005
Throughout African American history different individuals have made a significant impact that would forever change things. In the 1900s Harlem became the governing body for the birth of jazz and blues. This also open door for a new era called the Harlem Renaissance. During this time a poet name Langston Hughes was introduced. Langston Hughes created poetry that stood out to people. It had that jazzy vibe mixed with articulate language of choice. He could seize the minds of people with the soulfulness of his writing, and depict the struggles of what was going on with blacks. Some individuals see Langston Hughes as the inspired poet of the Harlem Renaissance time. Mr. Hughes used his body of work to compare and contrast things to create the groundwork for the Harlem Renaissance period.
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 blatantly honest and dark point of view such as this, it is apparent that the author’s goal is to ensure that the reader is compelled to face the issues and tragedies that are occurring in their country, compelled enough to take action. This method may have been quite effective in exposing the plight of African-Americans to Caucasians. It can be easily seen that Hughes chooses a non-violent and, almost passive method of evoking a change. While Hughes appears to be much less than proud of his homeland, it is apparent that he hopes for a future when he may feel equal to his fellow citizens, which is the basis of the “dream” that has been
Poetry was a big part of the Harlem Renaissance, especially black poetry. Poetry helped people get their emotions out and provided an outlet for many new and old African-Americans, and for Africans just arriving in the United States in Harlem. The Renaissance was filled with great poets including the great Langston Hughes. Hughes is the author of his own book The Weary Blues and the writer of the poems Not without Laughter and The Way of the White Folks. He believed in the beauty of the Africans, as stated on Shmoop “Hughes knew that black was beautiful.” He won the Harlem gold medal for literature for his literary work and helped shape the artists of the Harlem Renaissances contributions to the movement. Hughes was also the founder of three theaters meant as outlets for black actors and dramatists. The names of these theaters are the New Negro Theater, Langston Hughes Preforming Arts, and Black Arts (“Langston Hughes Founded Theaters”). Langston Hughes was a very popular and
Hughes, who claimed Paul Lawrence Dunbar, Carl Sandburg, and Walt Whitman as his primary influences, is particularly known for his insightful, colorful portrayals of black life in America from the twenties through the sixties. He wrote novels, short stories and plays, as well as poetry, and is also known for his engagement with the world of jazz and the influence it had on his writing, as in "Montage of a Dream Deferred." His life and work were enormously important in shaping the artistic contributions of the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s. Unlike other notable black poets of the period—Claude McKay, Jean Toomer, and Countee Cullen—Hughes refused to differentiate between his personal experience and the common experience of black America. He wanted to tell the stories of his people in ways that reflected their actual culture, including both their suffering and their love of music, laughter, and language itself.
Langston Hughes wrote during a very critical time in American History, the Harlem Renaissance. Hughes wrote many poems, but most of his most captivating works centered around women and power that they hold. They also targeted light and darkness and strength. The Negro Speaks of Rivers and Mother to Son, both explain the importance of the woman, light and darkness and strength in the African-American community. They both go about it in different ways.
Langston Hughes was probably the most well-known literary force during the Harlem Renaissance. He was one of the first known black artists to stress a need for his contemporaries to embrace the black jazz culture of the 1920s, as well as the cultural roots in Africa and not-so-distant memory of enslavement in the United States. In formal aspects, Hughes was innovative in that other writers of the Harlem Renaissance stuck with existing literary conventions, while Hughes wrote several poems and stories inspired by the improvised, oral traditions of black culture (Baym, 2221). Proud of his cultural identity, but saddened and angry about racial injustice, the content of much of Hughes’ work is filled with conflict between simply doing as one is told as a black member of society and standing up for injustice and being proud of one’s identity. This relates to a common theme in many of Hughes’ poems that dignity is something that has to be fought for by those who are held back by segregation, poverty, and racial bigotry. The poems “Visitors to the Black Belt”, “Note on Commercial Theatre”, “Democracy”, and “Theme for English B” by Hughes all illustrate the theme of staying true to one’s cultural identity and refusing to compromise it despite the constant daily struggle it meant to be black in an Anglo centric society.
Imagine living in a world where you, and people of your color, can not aspire to do great things because of the environmental oppression that surrounds you. Even if you do dare to dream, your great plans will deteriorate, leaving them to rot or even explode. This short poem, written by Langston Hughes, is one of his most famous works. Hughes wrote “Harlem” in 1951, to address the limitations of the American Dream for African Americans. In “Harlem”, Langston Hughes uses the literary devices, imagery and similes to depict the hopes and frustrations of African Americans in the ghetto’s throughout America.
“Harlem” by Langston Hughes opened the doors to African American art. Throughout history there has been a lot of issues with racial inequality. During the Harlem Renaissance, many African Americans wanted to prove they were just as intelligent, creative, and talented as white Americans. Langston Hughes was one of the people who played an influential part in the Harlem Renaissance; his poem “Harlem” painted a very vivid picture of his life and his outlook in the society he lived in.
The reason I say African American’s dreams is because the author published this poem in 1951, the time period where there was much racism and civil rights violations against African Americans. Another reason is that the author is an African American himself. Finally, the biggest reason is that the author named the poem “Harlem.” Harlem is a neighborhood in the New York City borough of Manhattan, long known as a major African-American cultural and business center. It was associated for much of the twentieth century with black culture, crime and poverty. It is the capital of African-American life in the United States. The author named this poem “Harlem” because he was addressing mainly the black community. Still, the poem’s message is very clear: if one postpones his/her dream(s) it can have a damaging affects.