Hopes and Dreams
Langston Hughes was an African American poet, essayist, playwright, and skilled short story wordsmith. He is best known for vocalizing the concerns of his fellow working-class African Americans. Hughes was born in 1902 in Joplin, Missouri, a descendant of prominent abolitionists and rose quickly to prominence during the “Harlem Renaissance”. We know Hughes for his extreme versatility and as a productive author who was particularly well known and loved for his folksy humor. Langston Hughes incorporate commodities in his tone, diction and imagery to enhance the readers experience in understanding the struggles of the African-American man. These poems filled his people with hope and encouraged them to work towards their dreams and not give up.
During the twentieth century, African Americans faced segregation and discrimination. They were not allowed to eat at the same table as whites. At times they had to sit in the back of the bus or train. In this poem Hughes demonstrates how immensely effective his tone, diction and imagery is through simple words in his poem. The speaker stakes claim that he, too, can sing America, in which he is claims he is patriotic towards his country. The speaker also claims to be the “darker brother”. When guests come to visit, he isn’t allowed to sit at the table, but, hopes someday they will see how beautiful he is and hopes they will be ashamed of themselves for their discrimination. He claims he did not mind eating in the kitchen, as he ate well and grew stronger every day. It was during this time that Hughes penned “I Too.” ...
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...working the land and being America.
Although we have three different poems, Hughes simple words contain similarities such as tone, diction and imagery. Hughes’ three poems reflect on the dreams of the “darker brother” or “black sheep.” All three poems tie his people towards ancient Africa and the hard work they did to help build America, as a great nation. His poems are strong and meaningful, he states in one poem, I am America, and tomorrow I will sit at the table with the others. The beautiful people have come a long way, and for many the dream was kept alive by Hughes’ words. They like all have grown in beauty and strength slowly turning the culture around. Hughes’ stanza in his poems about beautiful, strong people, his black people, bring a sound of jazz and gospel to his poems as he tells of his people’s struggles and encourages them to hold onto the dream.
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