The Poetic Devices of Langston Hughes Essay

The Poetic Devices of Langston Hughes Essay

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The great advantage of poetry is that with the right choice of words, it can capture a whole scene in just one line of a stanza. It has the ability to offer hope from a painful experience and is something that a person can identify with; almost as if the poet and the reader become one. In his two poems, “Mother to Son” and “Harlem”, Langston Hughes, shines light on the life and struggles of African-Americans (“The Poetry”). While the theme of both poems is centered on perseverance, Hughes skillfully uses figurative language, tone, and form and structure differently in each poem to depict the same message.
In the poem “Mother to Son”, Hughes painted a picture of a loving yet firm middle-aged mother. From beginning to end, the mother is having a heart-to-heart conversation with her son. In the conversation, she is giving her son advice on how to handle the trials he has been and will be facing in life. Hughes lived in a time where blacks and whites were not equal (“The Poetry”). By the language used and descriptions of experiences the mother went through, readers would assume that this is an African American family from the South (Bass 60). The southern dialect, shown by dropping “g” in words such as “climbin” or “turnin” and knowledge of the time period the poem was written in, one could assume that the mother had no formal education However, what she lacked in formal education, she made up for in life experiences and shared that with her son.
In his poem “Harlem” Hughes expressed his anger on the inequality of African Americans. He seen the danger in them not being equal and strongly resented how the wants and needs of the blacks were seen as unimportant (--- 74). “Harlem” questions the reader about dreams; asking what happe...


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...ryone. And as we let our own lights shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.
We all must also take heed to the advice the mother in “Mother to Son” gave to her son. The advice is simple but relatable: in order to overcome the hurdles of life, a person must possess courage and determination.



Works Cited

"The Poetry of Langston Hughes." SIRS Renaissance. 19 May 2004: n.p. SIRS Renaissance. Web. 6 Mar 2012.
Bass, Ramona and Arnold Rampersad ed. The Collected Works of Langston Hughes. 1. Columbia, Missouri: University of Missouri Press, 2001. Print.
---. The Collected Works of Langston Hughes. 3. Columbia, Missouri: University of Missouri Press, 2001. Print.
Grimes, Linda Sue. “Hughes' Harlem - A Dream Deferred.” N.p. 7 Feb. 2007. Web. 16 Mar. 2012

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