Premium Essay

Hughes Poems Essay

In: English and Literature

Submitted By barbs94
Words 697
Pages 3
Langston Hughes was fully involved in the radicalism of the 1930s. His poetry from the period is strongly sympathetic toward the Soviet Union and the cause of international socialism. It shows a lack of patience with failure of American society to address either the racial oppression or the economic degradation and exploitation of the period both at home in the Depression and abroad in European colonialism. Hughes's career followed a varied path; he wrote prose fiction as well as poetry. He collaborated with visual artists and musicians. Within his poetry there is a great deal of variety as well. The Poem “Mother to Son” by Langston Hughes, is a short twenty line poem that hass significant meaning in the short verse. Hughes uses an older female speaker to give advice to a son who is part of the younger generation. In the poem Hughes uses the device of an extended metaphor to describe the life of the mother. The extended metaphor compares the mother’s life to a staircase. The line “Life for me ain’t been no crystal stair” begins and ends the poem. With this line, Hughes quickly establishes for us that the speaker in the poem has not had an easy life. The concept of the crystal staircase gives the reader the impression of great wealth. Us the readers can indulge in inferring that it would be someone with supreme wealth and someone who did not have to work as hard as the speaker did. By using the imagery of a crystal staircase as the opposite of her staircase, we immediately know before learning any of the details of her staircase that she has not had an easy life. Another great peom by Hughes is called “Harlem Sweeties”. It is a luscious, sensual poem appealing to the reader's sight, sound, and taste. It is joyous and catchy, and it represents Hughes's early depictions of Harlem. In this poem, Harlem is filled with jazz, sex, art, cultural fecundity, dreams, and...

Similar Documents

Premium Essay

Harlem Renaissance

...Harlem Renaissance Strayer University Humanities 112 Professor Renee Pistone November 30, 2014 Harlem renaissance poetry comprises of poems composed in the 1920s by poets such as Countee Cullen, Langston Hughes, Claude McKay, and Sterling Brown. All these poets had different items illustrated in their poems, though they all pointed the oppression of the minority race in America, and their fight to achieve freedom. The focus of this essay is to analyze poems by two different poets during the Harlem Renaissance period, describing the role played by each author in this period. The poems to be analyzed are If We Must Die by Claude McKay and Let America be America Again by Langston Hughes. These two poems pass different messages and show the different wishes of the two poets. McKay and Hughes each contributed to the Harlem Renaissance poetry in varying ways. Hughes was a well-known artist who wrote essays, short stories, poems, and children’s books. He used his poetry to celebrate the African American community and tried to capture the life of the African Americans in his work. His major focus is on dreams, and he gives suggestions of what happens when dreams are ignored and postponed. He, therefore, played a role in airing the dreams of the black Americans who lived in Harlem, and how these dreams were shattered (Bloom, 2004). His poetry is a way of showing that the black Americans had dreams, which if they did not come true would......

Words: 980 - Pages: 4

Premium Essay

Langston Hughes Research Essay

...1020 Fall 2013 Biographical Research Essay Langston Hughes was born in Joplin, Missouri. He was the second child of Caroline Langston and James Hughes. After his parents' divorce his father left the country for Mexico and then Cuba to escape the racism of American society. After his divorce his mother traveled looking for work leaving Langston to be raised by his Grandmother in Lawrence, Kansas. Langston Hughes later lived with his mother again along with his new step-father in Cleveland, Ohio where he attended high school. In high school Hughes was elected to be the class poet. he felt that he was only chosen because he was African-American. "I was the victim of a stereotype. there were only two of us negro kids in the whole class and our English teacher was always stressing the importance of rhythm in poetry well, everyone knows, except us, that all negroes have rhythm, so they elected me as class poet." Hughes grew up and lived in an extremely racist time. he came from a long line of ant-slavery and also very politically active people on his mother's side. Hughes also had his own opinions on politics. like many black writers and artists of this time Hughes was drawn to the idea of communism rather than segregated America and lots of his work reflected that. his poetry was often published in the CPUSA newspaper. he was involved in many communist led organizations though was more of a sympathizer than an active participant. Hughes was accused by many of being a......

Words: 783 - Pages: 4

Premium Essay

“Theme for English B” by Langston Hughes

...Analysis of a Poem: “THEME FOR ENGLISH B” by Langston Hughes Theme for English B was written by Langston Hughes. Langston Hughes has inspired the hearts and paved the way for many African American poets. James Mercer Langston Hughes was an American poet and playwright whose African American themes made him a primary contributor to the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s.The Harlem Renaissance was the name given to the cultural, social, artistic explosion which took place in Harlem between the end of World War 1 and the middle of the 1930s. Langston Hughes was born February 1, 1902 in Joplin, Missouri. He passed away in New York City on May 22, 1967 at the age of 65. Langston Hughes was a notorious American poet, social activist, novelist, playwright, and columnist. Langston Hughes was best known as a leader of the Harlem Renaissance. Most of Hughes best work was written during the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s. His poetry made a huge contribution to the African American culture and the entire world. As I begin to ponder about ‘’Theme for English B’’ (an assignment given by Hughes’ Professor for students to write a paper), I try to imagine how things were back then. The poem starts off referencing a 22 year old colored man who is making his way towards the Harlem Branch Y, where he begins to write an essay. This poem, “Theme for English B” allows Langston Hughes to tackle the biggest issues on his world during this period of time; a world where black people were......

Words: 611 - Pages: 3

Free Essay

Langston Hughes

...Week 4 Assignment 4 Rough Draft James Langston Hughes: A Literary Beacon In this paper my goal is to analyze the writings of Langston Hughes by applying historical critical perspectives. In casual terms, historical criticism means to acknowledge and present the cultural and social influence found in writing based on the era it was written. Many different issues can play a role in influencing a writer’s work such as wars, social upheavals and even one’s personal experiences. I intend to show how much elements are present in Langston Hughes’ literature. Langston Hughes’ life started much differently than most African – American folks of his time. He was not born poor nor was he raised in a poverty ravaged environment, yet his writings contain many references to social struggles and the longing to be treated as equals. In my interpretation of his poetry I gather that most of his influence comes from two different sources. The first of these would be from watching the trials and tribulations of his fellow people. In his poem “Song for a Dark Girl” he writes about the brutal hanging of an African-American woman. This writing was obviously influenced by the civil unrest and violent racism that ran ramped throughout the southern United States during the first half of the twentieth century. Hughes himself most likely never experienced or witnessed such an event, but through family, friends and other sources had been exposed to such treacherous tales. The second......

Words: 513 - Pages: 3

Premium Essay

Langston Huges

...Langston Hughes (1902-1967) Langston Hughes was the first African American writer in the United States to earn a living as a writer. He was born in Joplin, Missouri, and because of his parents’ separation he lived in several places including places in the American mid-west and Mexico. He attended Columbia University, but stopped his studies because of the discrimination he experienced at the hands of his white counterparts. Hughes was a prolific writer and his themes were driven by the racial oppression that he witnessed all around him and that he experienced first hand as well. Hughes was a prominent member of the Harlem Renaissance, which was a time in America when African Americans experienced a flowering of intellectual and cultural activities in the African American communities in Harlem, New York. Alain Locke referred to this era as the New Negro Movement. During this time, Langston Hughes and other African writers’ words were full of protest and great expressions of the social injustices that were bestowed upon African Americans. Langston Hughes often wrote about the second class citizenship status that African Americans experienced, and the ills of segregation were key themes in his writings. His writings not only voiced protest, but the theme of rejection was present in his writings. He wrote about his personal rejection from everywhere when searching for work....

Words: 866 - Pages: 4

Premium Essay

Paper 2

...read Langston Hughes’s works. Hughes writes lots of poetry about pursuing an American Spirit which realizes no discrimination, freedom and equality in the entire American society. Hughes hopes all African American can be respected by entire society. African Americans have relatively equal chances to compete with white people and have similar living condition as whites’ families which at least have a house and a car. The two poems of Hughes’ “I, Too” and “Theme for English B” describe Hughes’ desired American Spirit. In these two poems “ I, Too” and Theme for English B”, Hughes shares his experience as African American who lives under basic living condition, in hopes of encouraging more blacks to fight for equal rights. From the poem “I, too”, Hughes writes “I, too, sing America” (ln.1). As a common American people who learn American history and love American culture, although Hughes ’ancestry is African, he was born and grew up in the Unites States. Hughes also writes “I, too, am America” (ln.18). Although white people and black people have different skin color and background in the United States, they are all American. People can learn some idea about equality from Hughes. Hughes says when guests come to their home, white person can eat at the table but darker brother only can eat in the kitchen in the poem “I, Too”. From the poem “Theme for English B”, Hughes writes “Sometimes perhaps you don’t want to be a part of me” (li.29). Hughes states that a white......

Words: 2786 - Pages: 12

Premium Essay

Reflective Paper

...A reflective essay is a piece of writing that basically involves your views and feelings about a particular subject. The goal of a reflective essay is to not only discuss what you learned, but to convey the personal experiences and findings that resulted. Writing a reflective essay is your chance to reveal and talk about your personal insight about a topic. Reflective essays are used as a self-assessment measure of sorts; they allow you to address your experiences and what you've gained. The reflective essay consists of your individual views on the matter and an explanation of your stance. The goal of this essay is to successfully relay your own beliefs, attitudes and observations. In some reflective essays, you'll be required to support your conclusions by citing materials such as books, journals, articles and other resources. A reflective essay should reflect your own thoughts on the subject matter, not those of others. The poem by Langston Hughes, “Theme for English B”, brought back memories of myself growing up during the times where it was truly a white only and black only world. It was not college that I had to endure the color barriers but it was going to elementary through high school. I went to an all black school until I entered high school. The plot seems to take on a very structured, by providing detailed background information. The plot is clearly connected to the setting as Hughes states “I am twenty-two, colored, born in Winston-Salem. I went to school......

Words: 1169 - Pages: 5

Free Essay

Life and Song of Crow

...‘From the Life and Songs of the Crow’ by Ted Hughes God tries to teach Crow to say LOVE: ‘Crow gaped, and the white shark crashed into the sea’. (Crow’s First Lesson) Background – where did the idea for ‘Crow’ come from? In 1957 Ted Hughes met the American sculptor, engraver and publisher Leonard Baskin. Baskin was obsessed by corpses, and a variety of other things attended this obsession, including crows which he engraved with disturbingly anthropoid (human-like) characteristics. An invitation from Baskin to Hughes to write a few little poems to accompany his engravings was the cause of the first Crow poems. Crow: From the Life and Songs of the Crow was first published by Faber in 1972. The poems included in Crow are part of a large number of poems which make up a ‘vast folk epic’ which tells the story of Crow. Hughes’s account of the creation of the figure of Crow is thus: God, having created the world, has a recurring nightmare. A huge hand/ voice comes from deep space, takes him by the throat, half-throttles him, drags him through space, ploughs the earth with him then throws him back into heaven in a cold sweat. Meanwhile man sits at the gates of heaven waiting for God to grant him audience. He has come to ask God to take life back. God is furious and sends him packing. The nightmare seems to be independent of the creation, and God cannot understand it. The nightmare is full of mockery of the creation, especially of man. God challenges the nightmare......

Words: 2287 - Pages: 10

Premium Essay

Comparative Essay on Ginsberg, Hughes and Thoreau

...Comparative Essay Ginsberg, Hughes and Thoreau Confidence and self-reliance are qualities that are admired and desired by many people. Confidence is defined as a feeling or consciousness of one's powers or of reliance on one's circumstances, and a faith or belief that one will act in a right, proper, or effective way. Self-reliance is defined as the ability to care for one's self. Because people aspire to be confident and self-reliant, these qualities are common themes in literature. This essay compares three quotes, taken from three very different pieces of literature about American values, in which confidence and self-reliance are illustrated. “I refuse to give up my obsession. America, stop pushing. I know what I’m doing.” – Allen Ginsberg, “America.” Allen Ginsberg’s “America” presents a sharp criticism of American culture by someone who has almost completely rejected its values. The poem’s speaker addresses America directly, as if he were giving a lecture or a sermon to the nation itself instead of to the American people. The nation’s aggressive anticommunist foreign policy and its culture of materialism and conformity are the targets of the speaker’s criticism. This poem was written in 1956 and was one of the first widely read literary statements of political unrest in the post-World War II America. Themes from the recent wars are prominent such as the nuclear bomb or Asian foreign policy, but the poem also depicts national racial unrest...

Words: 1053 - Pages: 5

Premium Essay

Essay

...Thistles Analysis Author: poem of Ted Hughes Type: poem Views: 31 Sponsored Links Against the rubber tongues of cows and the hoeing hands of men Thistles spike the summer air And crackle open under a blue-black pressure. Every one a revengeful burst Of resurrection, a grasphed fistful Of splintered weapons and Icelandic frost thrust up From the underground stain of a decayed Viking. They are like pale hair and the gutturals of dialects. Every one manages a plume of blood. Then they grow grey like men. Mown down, it is a feud. Their sons appear Stiff with weapons, fighting back over the same ground. Submitted by John Paul Hampstead Sponsor Learn to Play Songs by Ear: Ear Training 122 Free Video Tutorials [Video Tutorial] How to build google chrome extensions Please add me on youtube. I make free educational video tutorials on youtube such as Basic HTML and CSS. Free Online Education from Top Universities Yes! It's true. Online College Education is now free! ||| Analysis | Critique | Overview Below ||| .: :. Pavan Kooner -GCSE english practice essay: How does the author convey his feelings about the thistles? In the poem �Thistles� we hear about �Hughes� feelings towards the plants and how no matter what stands against them they will return determined to remain. Hughes compares the thistles to warriors and describes their battle for survival. In the first stanza Hughes describes the......

Words: 739 - Pages: 3

Premium Essay

Harlem Renaissance

...DC. They were in search of new employment and artistic opportunities. This was the beginning of the Harlem Renaissance era where African American artist (musicians and poets) called themselves the “New Negro”. The two Poets I chose to discuss throughout this essay are Langston Hughes and Claude McKay. I will be discussing their roles during the Harlem Renaissance, The elements of double consciousness within their poetry, and the primary themes seen in poetry during this time period. Langston Hughes Langston Hughes was one of the most influential writers during the Harlem Renaissance. His unique style of writing incorporated Jazz and Blues music into poetry. Langston Hughes played a significant role during the Harlem Renaissance period, his work became the voice for the average African American struggling to deal with the stress / pressures of being racially discriminated against. His poems encouraged them to love their brown skin and accept who they are and not how they are seen by their white counterparts. Instead of African Americans sacrificing their identity (culture) to blend into the white society he encouraged Negroes to have a sense of pride in their ancestry and celebrate their spirituality and culture. His poems spoke against racism and acts of violence against Negroes. Claude McKay Claude McKay was born in a small predominately black town in Sunny Ville, Jamaica at 17 he moved to Kingston Jamaica where he had his first encounter with racism. He was......

Words: 1561 - Pages: 7

Premium Essay

Struugles of a Single Mother

...English 101 1DB Essay 3 November 4, 2013 Struggles of a Single Mother The struggles of a single mother are insurmountable. In the poem “ Mother to Son” by Langston Hughes writes prolifically about his mothers struggle. Tupac in his music video Dear Mama presents another strong argument on the struggles of a single mother. Both of these works deal with the struggles their mothers went through. However they present a different argument when it comes to the source of the struggle. Hughes poem doesn’t identify what exactly caused the struggle but it is reasonable to assume it was external circumstance. Tupac on the other hand repeatedly identifies himself as the cause of the struggle. Thus the arguments diverge. One argument deals with the struggle caused by external circumstances while another deals with the struggle of single motherhood caused by the children. I feel that the argument Tupac presents in his video is a more realistic and persuasive argument for singe motherhood. In the video “Dear Mama” Tupac uses his lyrics to tell the story behind the video. He uses realism in the lyrics as well as in the video. When the video opens up Tupac’s mother speaks about being seventeen, pregnant, and in jail. After she speaks, Tupac opens up the song by saying that his mother had nowhere to stay at seventeen once she was released from jail. The combination of the words of Tupac’s mother and Tupac himself creates a strong emotional appeal to the audience. This combination......

Words: 595 - Pages: 3

Premium Essay

Symbolism Analysis

...Langston Hughes : “Theme for English B” Fatbardha Mamudi English Composition 2 Miraim Klein South University Langston Hughes was raised by his grandmother. He started writing poems at a young age. His grandmother was very passionate about reading and writing and infused Hughes with her passion. Hughes studied at Columbia for a year, but dropped out because of the racism he experienced. He traveled to Africa and Europe. Later, Hughes settled in Harlem, New York in the 1920’s. He joined the literary movement named the Harlem Renaissance. Hughes focused on educating the world about the mistreatment of African Americans from the 1920’s-1960’s. The poem I chose to write my thesis on is “Theme For English B”. “Theme for English B” is the journey of a young student trying to discover who they are at a time when who they were was stripped from them. At the end, through a realization process, they like who they are. The poems speaker is the student. The poem started with a teacher assigning the students an English assignment to write about themselves. The student questions the professor’s assignment. On the contrary, it is easy for the professor to assign the writing assignment about who the students are because the professor knows who he is and he is white. On the other hand, the student doesn’t really know who he or she is because they are black. The writer raises the question of being unsure of who they are. They state things that they concretely know about themselves...

Words: 880 - Pages: 4

Premium Essay

Six Young Men

...Six Young Men In 'Six Young Men' by Ted Hughes, a photograph is used to explore a more personal view of the effects of World War 1. This poem is about a group of six young men in an old photograph before they go off to fight in world war one. The photo was took in Cumbria, Lumb Falls. The men are all smartly dressed in the picture, there is now a memorial plaque in place. He explores the horror's of death in World War One. In this essay i intent to discuss the experiences and difficulties these men had to face. This poem covers the horror's of the first world war and what pain the six young firends faced, and how fragile life really is. I am going to show how Ted Hughes uses repetition and alliteration to describe the background. The first way in which Hughes sets the scene to show the horror's of war is alliteration to emphasise that the men all had friends and their own family, Ted Hughes want to show that people loved them. For example he uses "Shoe's Shine" to show they were ready and excited for life. We quickly realised that they are not going to survive as Hughes quote's in his last line, "one's own body from it's instant and death." In stanza 2 and 3, Hughes compare's the contrast of the horrors of war by starting by saying details about them but in Stanza 2 he makes us relise the reality by telling us how nice it is back home, "bulberried bank", this contrasts with Stanza 3. In Stanza three Hughes says, 'From potting at tin-cans in no-man's land, fell back......

Words: 375 - Pages: 2

Free Essay

Langston Hughes

... Langston Hughes and The Weary Blues Langston Hughes was recognized as a significant literary figure during the 1920s, a period known as the "Harlem Renaissance" because of the number of emerging black writers. After graduating from high school, Hughes went to Mexico to visit his father, in hopes to convince his father that he should pay for his college education at Columbia University in New York City. On his way to Mexico on the train, while thinking about his past and his future, Hughes wrote the famous poem, "The Negro Speaks of Rivers." After arriving in Mexico, the tension between Hughes and his father was strong. Hughes wanted to be a writer; his father wanted him to be an engineer. After Hughes sent some of his poetry to what was known as the “Brownies” Book and “Crisis” magazines, it was accepted. his father was impressed enough to agree to pay for a year at Columbia University. It was there at Columbia University were he begin releasing more poems that he had written. Hughes embraced crafting blues music into his poetry because it expressed the worries of the common man in a simple and direct manner. Blues songs feature heavy repetition, and singers often seem to be laughing and crying at the same time. One of his best works was the poem “The Weary Blues” which came in first place in a section of a literary contest in an Opportunity magazine published in 1925. The title itself gives an example on how Hughes wanted to give the reader an......

Words: 1157 - Pages: 5