Night Funeral in Harlem Fact Thesis

Excerpt from Thesis :

Night funeral in Harlem: When the funeral was completely over and the boy's coffin was carried out to the hears, which drove too fast down the street, the streetlight even seemed like it was crying for the boy. He was well-loved by everyone, and their love made the funeral magnificent, even if things looked more poor.

Connotation: The meaning behind the literal sense of the poem seems to be that despite what hardships, disadvantages, and unfairness, human relationships are the really important things that make us rich. The words that Hughes uses juxtaposes symbols of money, greed, and death with love, friendship, and life -- insurance men with satin boxes, flowers and the greedy preacher man, etc. This implies that many people just don't understand what's really important.

Devices: As stated above, the rhyme and meter of the poem enhance the poem's varying meanings. In addition, the use of repetition drives home the central point of the poem. Though the constant refrain of "night funeral in Harlem" might at first seem to restrict the poem to a specific setting, the final message of the poem is universal, making this repetition ironic. This adds to the many layers of the poem.

Attitude: The attitude of the poet seems to go from bitterness to love by the end. This is shown in his diction, which starts out abrasive and almost accusatory, but by the end is reverent. Most of this is accomplished by the poem's multiple speakers. There are at least two different voices in this poem; on who asks the questions, and one who answers. As the answers reflect more and more the
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love that was felt for the boy, the first voice seems to get more drawn into the love.

Shifts: The major shift in the poem is subtle and ongoing, but it occurs in little leaps at each of the stanza breaks. Specifically, each repetition of "Night funeral in Harlem" intensifies the poem and signals another step towards the final message and emotion evoked at the end of the poem.

The tile of the poem can be interpreted as completely literal, because it describes exactly what is seen in the poem, but it can also be seen as symbolic. This view actually takes the poem out of the context of Harlem; the title could be seen as just as ironic as the repetition of it in the poem, because the sentiment of the poet and the conclusion that the speakers come to is just as applicable to a funeral anywhere at any time of day, no matter who died. The idea that friends make us rich is not limited to any specific group of people but is a common human sentiment in many -- if not all -- cultures.

Theme: Plot: A black boy has died. There are two fine cars that insurance wouldn't pay for because it had lapsed, but his friends did. They also bought flowers. His girlfriend paid the preacher five dollars for the service. When the funeral was done the hearse sped away, and the streetlight seemed of cry. All of the boys' friends' tears made the funeral grand. Subjects: death, greed, friendship, love. Theme: The poet is saying that greed does not lead to riches in death, but only friendship and ove can, which makes them more important than money in life.

Cite This Thesis:

"Night Funeral In Harlem Fact" (2009, January 24) Retrieved January 26, 2021, from

"Night Funeral In Harlem Fact" 24 January 2009. Web.26 January. 2021. <>

"Night Funeral In Harlem Fact", 24 January 2009, Accessed.26 January. 2021,