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Struggles of African Americans in Langston Hughes’ Poems, Mother to Son and Lenox Avenue: Midnight

Struggles of African Americans in Langston Hughes’ Poems, Mother to Son and Lenox Avenue: Midnight

The experiences, lessons, and conditions of one’s life provide a wellspring of inspiration for one’s creative expressions and ideas. Throughout life people encounter situations and circumstances that consequently help to mold them into individualized spirits. An individual’s personality is a reflection of his or her life. Langston Hughes, a world-renowned African American poet and self-professed defender of African American heritage, boldly defies the stereotypical and accepted form of poetry at his own discretion. Although Langston Hughes is a successful African American poet, he, like many other Harlemites, faces obstacles and opposition along his journey through life; however, Hughes embraces his hardships and infuses his life experiences into poetical works that his fellow African Americans can relate to on some level. In both his poems “Mother to Son” and “Lenox Avenue: Midnight” Hughes reveals the constant struggle of a typical African American living during the 1920’s. In “Mother to Son” Hughes expresses the desperation of a mother who is anxious for her son to succeed. In the poem the mother hopes to offer her son encouraging words and impart to him the wisdom and knowledge she gains through persevering. While in the latter poem, “Lenox Avenue: Midnight,” Hughes reveals the cultural aspects of a city during the Harlem Renaissance and conveys the emotions of a quintessential African American Harlemite based on his own his experiences as an African American poet living in Harlem, NY. Hughes exposes in both poems the true nature, as he perceives it, of life as an African American in 1920’s white America.

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...g hidden within the words of his poem.

Works Cited

Harper, Donna. Thomson Gale. 12, March 2003. <http://www.galegroup.com>

Hughes, Langston. “The Harlem Renaissance.” Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, and Drama. Ed. X.J. Kennedy and Dana Gioia. 3rd Compact ed. New York: Longman, 2003. 767-769.

Hughes, Langston. “Lenox Avenue: Midnight.” Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, and Drama. Ed. X.J. Kennedy and Dana Gioia. 3rd Compact ed. New York: Longman 2003. 760.

Hughes, Langston. “Mother to Son.” Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, and Drama. Ed. X.J. Kennedy and Dana Gioia. 3rd Compact ed. New York: Longman 2003. 759.

Pinckney, Darryl. “Black Identity in Langston Hughes.” Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, And Drama. Ed. X.J. Kennedy and Dana Gioia. 3rd Compact ed. New York: Longman 2003. 772-773.

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