Out of the kitchen: An Examination of the American Dream in the Poetry of Langston Hughes

Out of the kitchen: An Examination of the American Dream in the Poetry of Langston Hughes

Length: 1894 words (5.4 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Term Papers

Open Document

Essay Preview


Out of the Kitchen:
An Examination of the American Dream in the poetry of Langston Hughes
The Harlem Renaissance gave a voice to many gifted artists, writers, and poets. Perhaps, for the first time, people were using the arts on a broad scale to give national and international voice to the long-silenced personal and political struggles of America’s ethnic other, specifically the African-American. Among the many gifted poets of the movement, Langston Hughes is, easily, one of the most recognizable and influential. Although his poems are lyrically beautiful, many of them also admonish a mythologized, free America as little more than a quaint, and for many, wholly unattainable model. Two of Hughes’ best known works, “Let American Be America Again” and “I, Too” speak directly to the grotesque imbalance of freedoms and rights in the U.S.. Using a number of literary devices, Hughes creates poems that are as poetically striking as they are politically and socially defiant. Through precise word choice, metaphor, and physical structure, Hughes creates multi-dimensional speakers who address two separate and unequal audiences. In these anthem-like poems, the speakers expound on their overwhelming desire for equality, unity, and freedom by addressing the short-comings of a capitalist system that makes commodities out of oppressed individuals and populations. Hughes’s poems focus on the American dream, a fantasy that is off-limits to anyone on the wrong side of the color line or income gap; however, despite their scathing criticisms, a patriotic hopefulness resides at the core of these two poems.
The speakers demonstrate voice and tone through precise word choice and juxtapose the fantasy American dream against the reality of racial and cl...


... middle of paper ...


... publication. Although certainly strides have been made, it is difficult to read Hughes’s work without asking if, in the twentieth century, the “farmer,” the “worker” the negro” and the “immigrant” are eating in the kitchen or dining with the guests?




Works Cited

Whitman, Walt, “I Hear America Singing”.. N.p.. Web. 11 Nov 2013.
.
Hernton, Calvin. "The Poetic Consciousness of Langston Hughes from Affirmation to
Revolution." Langston Hughes Review 12.1 (Spring 1993): 2-9. Rpt. in Poetry Criticism. Ed. Timothy J. Sisler. Vol. 53. Detroit: Gale, 2004. Literature Resource Center. Web. 11 Nov. 2013.
Poetry, Foundation.. N.p.. Web. 11 Nov 2013. .
Hughes, Langston. “Let America be America Again” N.p.. Web. 12 Nov 2013. .



Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Essay on Sandra Cisneros and Hughes Analysis

- Discrimination has and always will be controversial, whether it is because of sex or color of skin it will always be around. Writer inspiration seems to come from firsthand accounts and experiences, at least that is the case with Sandra Cisneros, a Chicana writer, and Langston Hughes, and African American poet. When reading their stories the reader can identify how different life experiences have influenced and inspired them to write the way they do. Analyzing Sandra Cisneros and Langston Hughes, and pieces of their writing will demonstrate how similar their writing is, how minority discrimination, and cultural circumstances effect and shape different pieces of their respective writings....   [tags: writers, discrimination, feminist writer]

Term Papers
1583 words (4.5 pages)

Dreams Deferred In Langston Hughes’s poem, Harlem Essay

- In Langston Hughes’s poem, Harlem, he questions what happens to a “dream deferred” and he lists multiple possibilities that all involve a dream going away (Hughes, Harlem). This poem seems to define Hughes’s life of not wanting to see his own dreams pass him by despite moving from place to place due to his parents’ separation and economic struggles (Otfinoski). Beyond that, Hughes faced racism that could have gotten in the way of his own goals, but instead of letting this deter him, he used it as fuel to pursue a literary career....   [tags: discrimination, racism, writer]

Term Papers
736 words (2.1 pages)

Langston Hughes' Poetry Essay

- Langston Hughes' Poetry What was the dream that brought our ancestors to America. It was rebirth, the craving for men to be born again, the yearning for a second chance. With all of these ideas comes the true American dream—Freedom. This is the condition in which a man feels like a human being. It is the purpose and consequence of rebirth. Throughout the life of Langston Hughes he presented ideas in his writings that help to define his perception of the American dream.In beginning, Langston Hughes was born on February 1, 1902 in Joplin, Missouri....   [tags: Papers]

Free Essays
1732 words (4.9 pages)

Essay on A Dream Deferred By Langston Hughes

- Langston Hughes was an important figure in writing about the struggles of African Americans. His poems express vivid imagery that allows readers to understand the conflicts blacks went through during the 1900’s. In his poem, “A Dream Deferred”, Langston Hughes describes the attitudes of black Americans during times of struggle and limited rights. Blacks had dreams in the 1900’s such as economic, social, and educational equality, and other basic civil rights. Unfortunately, racism was a barrier that got in the way of achieving these goals....   [tags: African American, Langston Hughes]

Term Papers
748 words (2.1 pages)

Analysis of Dream Deferred by Langston Hughes Essay

- Analysis of Dream Deferred by Langston Hughes Dreams are the driving force of America today. Every person has some sort of dreams and or goals. Although in life everyone has dreams and goals, there are obviously more struggles for some ethnic groups than for others. The poem, "Dream Deferred," by Langston Hughes, is one man's expression of his dreams during a difficult time period. As a black man in a time period where African-Americans were considered an inferior group of people,dreams and goals would have been difficult to realize....   [tags: Dream Deferred Langston Hughes Essays]

Term Papers
627 words (1.8 pages)

Langston Hughes, An African American Writer Essay

- ... A couple of Hughes books were placed on the “black list”. These books were “Not Without Laughter” and “Fields of Wonder” (Rhynes 94). Many of the accused people would just plead the fifth and not incriminate themselves. To the government this was a sign of guilt. Langston was tired of being harassed by these people and wasn’t going to stand for it. He joined with the NAACP and decided to go in front of the committee and plea his case (Rhynes 94-95). He was treated poorly by the prosecutors on the committee....   [tags: Langston Hughes, African American]

Term Papers
1628 words (4.7 pages)

Langston Hughes, An American Poet Essay

- Langston Hughes, an American Poet, is one of the most influential poets in American history. He was a social activist and novelist that spoke up for others that couldn 't and spread his ideas and thoughts amongst America. He was born on February 1,1902 and died at the age of 65 on May 22, 1967. He might of died but his legacy still lives amongst the world, his work still being translated into to todays meaning and being published for all to see. Langston has said that his most influential writers were Paul Laurence Dunbar, Carl Sandburg, and Walt Whitman; all having an influential and deep background in novels and poems....   [tags: Harlem Renaissance, Langston Hughes]

Term Papers
788 words (2.3 pages)

Essay on Power of Langston Hughes' Harlem (A Dream Deferred)

- Power of Langston Hughes' Harlem (A Dream Deferred) In our journey through life, we all have certain expectations of how we would like our lives to be. All of us strive to reach a certain level of self-actulization and acceptance. It could thus be said that all of us live a dream. Some of these individual dreams inevitably become the collective dream of many people. In "Harlem (A Dream Deferred)", Langston Hughes makes use of symbolism as well as powerful sensory imagery to show us the emotions that he and his people go through in their quest for freedom and equality....   [tags: Hughes Harlem Dream Deferred Essays]

Term Papers
670 words (1.9 pages)

The American Dream Essay

- The American Dream in Death of a Salesman, The Great Gatsby, and Maggie: A Girl of the Streets Millions of immigrants come to America each year to seek their American Dream. Many people believe that rising social mobility and success is possible in America for everyone due to the American social, economic, and political system....   [tags: American Dream Essays]

Term Papers
1443 words (4.1 pages)

Essay about The American Dream

- "The American Dream" is that dream of a nation in which life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with options for each according to capacity or accomplishments. It is a dream of social stability in which each man and each woman shall be able to achieve to the fullest distinction of which they are essentially competent, and be distinguish by others for what they are, despite of the incidental conditions of birth or stance. The American Dream is often something that humanity wonders about....   [tags: Essays on the American Dream]

Free Essays
673 words (1.9 pages)