Reoccurring Themes in the Work of Langston Hughes

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Langston Hughes is an extremely successful and well known black writer who emerged from the Harlem Renaissance (“Langston Hughes” 792). He is recognized for his poetry and like many other writers from the Harlem Renaissance, lived most of his life outside of Harlem (“Langston Hughes” 792). His personal experiences and opinions inspire his writing intricately. Unlike other writers of his time, Hughes expresses his discontent with black oppression and focuses on the hardships of his people. Hughes’ heartfelt concern for his people’s struggle evokes the reader’s emotion. His appreciation for black music and culture is evident in his work as well. Langston Hughes is a complex poet whose profound works provide insight into all aspects of black life in America, including oppression, struggle, music and culture.

Hughes speaks about black oppression in a full range of representation. The blacks that Hughes focuses most of his writing on are the “most burdened and oppressed of the black underclass, and people who have the most reason to despair but show the least evidence of it” (Bloom, “Thematic Analysis of the ‘Weary Blues’” 14). He tells the story of their life and times to voice his displeasure with the oppression of blacks (“Langston Hughes” 792). His work opens the public’s eye about what it is like to be black in America (“Langston Hughes” 792). In Hughes’ short poem “Harlem,” the speaker of the poem questions how the African American dream of equal opportunity is being constantly deferred and suppressed by white society (Niemi 1). Hughes wants his work to illuminate the fact that blacks miss opportunities due to their oppression.

In addition, his writing touches upon the ugly raw side of black life. In the first volume of his...

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...s. Ed. Harold Bloom. New York: Infobase Publishing, 1999. 44-46. Web. Literary Reference Center, EBSCO Host. 27 October 2011.

“Langston Hughes.” Literature: The American Experience. 4th Ed. Upper Saddle River: Prentice Hall, 1996. 792. Print.

Niemi, Robert. “The Poetry of Hughes.” Masterplots II: African American Literature. Revised Edition. Pasadena, California: Salem Press, 2008. 1-3. Web. Literary Reference Center, EBSCO Host. 27 October 2011.

Sanders, Mark A. “African American Folk Roots and Harlem Renaissance Poetry.”The Cambridge Companion to the Harlem Renaissance. Ed. George Hutchinson. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2007. 96-111. Print.

Smethurst, James. “Lyric Stars: Countee Cullen and Langston Hughes.” The Cambridge Companion to the Harlem Renaissance. Ed. George Hutchinson. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2007. 112- 125. Print.

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