Frost, Hughes, Alexie
The Meaning of "Home" in Frost's "Hired Hand," Hughes' "Landlord" and Alexie's "I Will Redeem"
Robert Frost writes in "The Death of the Hired Hand," "Home is the place where, when you have to go there, / They have to take you in" (122-3). Implicit in these lines is the notion that "home" carries certain rules. "Home" is not just a place devoid of higher meaning, but an abstract idea -- a concept bound by a principle of belonging, of submitting, of caring. Just as Langston Hughes shows in "Ballad of the Landlord" (with the tension between negligent landlord and suffering tenant) or as Sherman Alexie shows in "What You Pawn I Will Redeem" (Jackson sharing a portion of his winnings with Mary, whom he considers family -- "It's an Indian thing"), the principles of "home" are understood and upheld by those who realize its deeper meaning. This paper will analyze the way these three works portray that deeper meaning.
Sherman Alexie's Jackson illustrates the main principle of "home" when he hands a fifth of his lottery winnings to the check-out girl who sold him the ticket. He insists that according to the rules of his tribe, "When you win, you're supposed to share with your family." Mary (the check-out girl) answers, "I'm not your family." Jackson replies, "Yes, you are," and makes her take the $20. She takes it, realizing that in a larger, communal sense, they are family. The realization puts a smile on her face. It is this "sense" that prompts Robert Frost's Silas to return to the farm of Mary and Warren in "The Death of the Hired Man." Silas is an old, beaten-down, mostly worthless farmhand, who has a tendency to wander away from the job just when he is needed most. Warren wants nothing to do with him, but Mary cannot help but feel a profound sympathy for Silas. She sees in him a man in need, a man not to be turned away or denied shelter -- because, after all, he is a man. Never mind the fact that his own brother judges him and puts distance between them. Never mind the fact that he has his faults, his pride which won't allow him "to beg and be beholden" (Frost 21). Warren relents a...
Warren believes home is something that is deserved. It is his wife Mary who knows that it is something that is freely given.
Is it a coincidence that both women (in Alexie's story and in Frost's poem) are named Mary? Does it mean something that both possess name given to the Second Eve in Christian theology, the woman who gives birth to Christ, the Savior of mankind? The implications of the name "Mary" are many and deep -- and fitting in both cases as it is used in Alexie's short story and in Frost's story-like poem. In each, Mary "gets" the meaning of "family" and "home." She "gets" the law that binds all men together, that unites them all under one roof (whether that roof is the roof of a community, a town, a single house, or the all-encompassing sky). Fraternal charity is that law. It is the law of Mary's Son in the New Testament, and it is the law that both Mary in "Hired Hand" and Mary in "I Will Redeem" recognize. "Home" means "family" and "family" means "home" -- and both depend upon the law of charity. Jackson reaps the benefits of adhering to that law when the mysterious pawn broker gives him the regalia that he cannot possibly afford (another symbol of the Redemption bought by Christ?), and Warren realizes the law only after Silas dies -- Warren takes his wife's hand in his own and looks with her up at the sky which houses them all and the cloud (a representation of Silas' soul?) that joins its brethren in front of the moon (the symbol of Mary used by the…
Langston Hughes and James Baldwin Compare/Contrast Music plays a major role in much of the literature that came out of the Harlem Renaissance. The Harlem Renaissance was an American cultural movement that aimed to celebrate African-American culture through literature, art, and other intellectual and artistic means. One of the musical styles that was influential in literary works of Langston Hughes and James Baldwin was the blues. This musical style rose out
Langston Hughes' "Democracy" A number of ideas are expressed -- and buried -- in Langston Hughes' 1949 poem "Democracy." The poem is composed in open form and appears to take its cues from the musical jazz movement of the time period. Its lines are short, often punctuated by abbreviated verses and sudden rhymes that indicate a sense of urgency and immediacy, while vibrating with a strong and insistent timbre and tone.
Langston Hughes Poetry A Reflection of the American Dream in Langston Hughes's Poetry The Harlem Renaissance was an artistic, literary, and cultural movement that emerged in New York, specifically Harlem, shortly after World War I and into the 1930s. One of the most prominent poets to arise from the cultural movement was Langston Hughes. Hughes's poetry explores the generational differences that have emerged and how though it may seem that there have
To combat the power of their oppressive circumstances, many would sing to chase away the blue. This tradition is captured in the " Thump, thump, thump, went his foot on the floor" (22). The song is about oppression and an attempt to be happy regardless of setting. Heritage, history and hope merge together in this poem to explore what the African experience must have been like. Hughes' poetry is also
Langston Hughes method of exposing racism and gender racism in Five Plays is to simply tell it like it is, to show all aspects of black life, good, bad, beautiful, ugly, and everything in between. He depicts forms of racism such as oppression, miscegenation, violence, dishonesty in the name of religion, illegal profiteering playing upon the hopes and dreams of the poor, at the same time he glorifies the love,
Langston Hughes felt that African-Americans should be able to live in freedom in the 20th Century. He saw African-Americans as a vibrant race, full of live, compassion, and love. He didn't approve of complacent people. Because Hughes was at the center of the Harlem Renaissance, he naturally felt that African-Americans should speak up and demand what they want. He felt that African-Americans should be proud of their heritage -- they