Langston Hughes' America Essay

Langston Hughes' America Essay

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“America the melting pot.” An expression used by many and often said in a prideful manner. We Americans like to think of ourselves as all accepting and welcoming to everyone, and while that may be true in general, discrimination still exist throughout the country. Fortunately, racism has significantly lowered thanks to the Civil rights movement. Each American can now express who they are without a major fear of contempt or prejudice. Prior to the Civil rights movement, racism ran rampant, particularly in the south. The Harlem renaissance, which took place throughout the 1920’s, helped spur the Civil Rights movement. It was around this time African Americans really started to push themselves forward in society. One successful poet of that time is Langston Hughes. Two of his well-known poems, “Theme for English B”, and “I, too America,” should be recognized for expression of the common thoughts and ideals of African Americans of the time who faced racial segregation. In “Theme for English B”, Hughes shows the reader that despite the lines drawn by society, he is an American and a part of his fellow man although there may be physical differences. “Yet a part of me, as I am a part of you. That’s American.” Hughes does a wonderful job in both his pieces depicting the racism of the time. He shows that no matter your background you are equal to those around you.

Hughes begins “Theme for English B” with a sort of biographical feel, place of birth is mentioned and his schooling, but the meaning behind the poem gets deeper as you read. Hughes starts off pretty strongly with “I wonder if it’s that simple?” (“Theme B” 6). His use of a question so early on lets a reader know that his poem is for more than just show. He wants you to think. ...

... middle of paper ... of Langston Hughes poem, “I, Too, Sing America”, is the use of the word too. Too shows that Hughes, and other African Americans, are just as much of America as anyone else. Not everyone has the opportunity to say they are a part of something with such conviction. Hughes, through two short works, showed the injustice in America at the time. His writings show a time that America now looks back on with great shame. These well-written poems give hope to those who have read it and enlighten those who read it now. Hughes crosses the societal boundaries to declare, “ I, too, am America”(“I, too” 17).

Works Cited

Hughes, Langston. “Theme for English B” Literature: A Portable Anthology. Ed.
Janet E. Gardner et al. 2nd ed. Boston: Bedford, 2009. 575-576. Print.
Hughes, Langston. “I, Too, Sing America.” Poetry Foundation.
1994. 20 Feb. 2014. Web.

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