Langston Hughes (1902-1967) absorbed America. In doing so, he wrote about many issues critical to his time period, including The Renaissance, The Depression, World War II, the civil rights movement, the Black Power movement, Jazz, Blues, and Spirituality. Just as Hughes absorbed America, America absorbed the black poet in just about the only way its mindset allowed it to: by absorbing a black writer with all of the patronizing self-consciousness that that entails. The contradiction of being both black and American was a great one for Hughes. Although this disparity was troublesome, his situation as such granted him an almost begged status; due to his place as a “black American” poet, his work was all the more accessible. Hughes’ black experience was sensationalized. Using his “black experience” as a façade, however, Hughes was able to obscure his own torments and insecurities regarding his ambiguous sexuality, his parents and their relationship, and his status as a public figure. One of Hughes’ most distinctive styles stemmed from urban nightclubs in which black artists performed for a white audience. Hughes’ great appreciation for the black urban music style is obvious throughout the various rhythms, patterns, and unpredictable improvisations that mirror the chaotic and pulsating tempo of city life. Jazz and black oral influences, as well as social dichotomy are pervasive elements throughout Hughes’ poetry. Like nightclub entertainers, Hughes used the progression of Afro-American music (jazz, ragtime, swing, blues, and be-bop) in order to show the growth and change of a community in conflict, as is shown in “Subway Rush Hour.” This poem, brimming with sudden and broken rhythms, is characteristic of jazz riffs popular in the 1920s. In “Subway Rush Hour,” Hughes uses the musicality of his poetry and incorporates it with an important social statement regarding the relation status between blacks and whites. Equality is an ever-present theme throughout Hughes’ poetry. In “Theme for English B,” Hughes presents us with musical and effective language, an intense social statement, and a very important sense of equality, shocking us into reality. 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.
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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
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.
The Negro Speaks of Rivers and Mother to Son, explained the importance of the woman, light and darkness and strength in the African-American community. Hughes made a very clear and concise statement in focusing on women and the power they hold, light and darkness, and strength. Did his poems properly display the feelings of African-American’s in that time period? It is apparent that Hughes felt a sense of pride in his culture and what they had to endure. After all “Life ain’t been no crystal stair!”(Norton, Line 2, 2028)
For many years, African Americans were forced to live without a voice and many accepted the fact that they were seen as inferior to the white race. Although they were excluded from being a part of society, built up emotions constructed beautiful pieces of poetry that have become important aspects of today’s literature. Langston Hughes’, “ I Too, Sing America” and Claude Mckay’s, “The White House” will be looked at closely to determine how each poem portrays emotional discontent and conflicted emotional states.
Langston Hughes, born in February 1st, 1902, grew up in segregated America. His own ancestry was as mixed as that described in the poem. Both his great-grandmothers were enslaved African Americans and both his grandparents were white slave owners. Both of Hughes’ parents were of mixed race descent. Many of his family members were key figures in the elevation of blacks in society, and they impressed upon him the nobility of black people. Hughes had a rootless and often lonely upbringing, moving back and forth between family members’ homes. Hughes was a prominent leader of the Harlem Renaissance and referred to it as the period when “the negro was in vogue”.
The poem tells of a young black with a writing assignment in which he must simple write a page on whatever he wants. Hughes uses the narrator in this poem to give some insight on the obstacles that he believed stood in his path while he was trying to pursue his dream of becoming a writer. The speaker tells the audience that he is in college and that “I am the only colored student in my class” (Hughes line 10). During that time period, it was very rare for anyone of color to participate in higher education. The speaker tells us he is from the Harlem area, and he identifies with the people of Harlem just as Harlem identifies with him. Hughes understood the feelings and everyday lives of the people of Harlem, New York, and gave his fictional speaker those same understandings. The writer tells his audience of his feelings towards the white American population when he says, “I guess being colored doesn’t make me not like / the same things other folks like who are other races” (lines 25-26). Hughes’s used his speaker to explain how black and whites both want to be writers, but blacks are put at a disadvantage due to the social differences of the two. Langston Hughes wanted his readers to understand the cultural differences of people of color and people on non-color. Jeannine Johnson asserts that “for Hughes, poetry is to some degree about self-expression and self-exploration, especially when the "self" is understood to mark the identity of an individual who is always affected by and affecting a larger culture.” One of the most noted portions of this poem is when the speaker tells his instructor, “You are white / yet a part of me, as I am a part of you / That’s American” (lines 31-33). These lines tell the reader that although whites and blacks have their differences, that regardless of race they are both American. Hughes uses
During the early to mid-twentieth century Langston Hughes contributed vastly to a very significant cultural movement later to be named the “Harlem Renaissance.” At the time it was named the “New Negro Movement,” which involved African Americans in creating and expressing their words through literature and art. Hughes contributed in a variety of different aspects including plays, poems, short stories, novels and even jazz. He was even different from other notable black poets at the time in the way that he shared personal experiences rather than the ordinary everyday experiences of black America. His racial pride helped mold American politics and literature into what it is today.
During this era African Americans were facing the challenges of accepting their heritage or ignoring outright to claim a different lifestyle for their day to day lives. Hughes and Cullen wrote poems that seemed to describe themselves, or African Americans, who had accepted their African Heritage and who also wanted to be a part of American heritage as well. These are some of the things they have in common, as well as what is different about them based on appearance, now I shall focus on each author individually and talk about how they are different afterwards.
In Maxine Hong Kingston story, “No Name Woman,” the author told a story of her aunt who was punished for committing adultery and died in order to express her thought and spirit of revolt of the patriarchal oppression in the old Chinese society. My essay will analyze the rhetoric and the technique of using different narrators to represent the article and expound the significance of using those methods in the article.
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...
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.
b.) PepsiCo is a global food and beverage corporation based in New York. The company was formed in1965 with the merger of Pepsi-Cola Company and Frito-Lay, Inc. PepsiCo grew bigger with the 1998 acquisition of Tropicana and the 2001 merger with Quaker Oats. The company has several different products that are known globally. PepsiCo offers twenty-two iconic brands to over more than two hundred countries and territories. The iconic brands generate more than one billion dollars in annual retail sales.
Black men have soul. Not just the physical soul that everyone possesses, but this culture or essence that they portray. Whether it’s the jazz music that they create, or the food that is made, the soul of black man is unlike any other. It is like a relentless entity that keeps going no matter what it endures, or the hardships it faces. It has also been around since the beginning of society. The Harlem Renaissance was the first movement in the United States that depicted the soul that black men had and still have. With an emphasis in African culture, the Harlem Renaissance proved to be one of the most prolific times for black men, especially in the arts, literature, and music. The works from the Harlem Renaissance has this unique soulful charisma that blacks seem to perfect. In his poem, “The Negro Speaks of Rivers”, author, Langston Hughes takes on the persona of a universal black man, meaning he speaks for all of them, and this is demonstrated by his use of history, political stance, and the concept of soul.