Langston Hughes Essays (Examples)

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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. The content of the poem is also structured like that of a piece of jazz music, with various layers of meaning coming together all at once through symbol, metaphor, assonance and suggestion. This paper will analyze the meaning of Hughes' "Democracy" by examining its use of various poetic devices as well as the ideas that the poem's language helps to convey both literally and figuratively.

The poem begins with the line "Democracy will not come," which is full of hard sounds….

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 orld ar 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 been obstacles that have been overcome through the years, many things do not seem to change. Through his poetry, Hughes was able to demonstrate how each generation strives to be better than the last and the disappointment that may be encountered when one may not be able to achieve their dream.

In the poem "Mother to Son," the narrator encourages her son to continue to fight against the current and to not allow all her hard work to be discarded. The….

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 recognized for its human touch. Hughes had a way of looking at what might seem like an ordinary experience and find something significant in it. An example of this can be seen with the poem, "Mother to Son." The topic of this poem is simply a mother talking to her son; however, the poet captures the essence of the mother's desire to pass on her knowledge to her young boy. Her knowledge is significant because she has lived the life….

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, beauty, uplifting music, true faith and laughter of his black brothers and sisters. He doesn't try to hide what is unsavory about blacks. He doesn't need to put a lot of whites in his plays to demonstrate racism. Langston Hughes presents the black people as they are, showing how racism and gender racism has continues to affect their lives.
The Voices and Visions video on Langston Hughes reveals how the artistry of Hughes has contributed to our understanding of racism. In….

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 shouldn't try to be something that they are not. They shouldn't try to fit into the white culture. More specifically, they should embrace their heritage and love themselves as described in the following:
And so the word white comes to be unconsciously a symbol of all the virtues. It holds for the children beauty, morality, and money. The whisper of "I want to be white" runs silently through their minds. This young poet's home is, I believe, a fairly typical home….

Hughes seems to indicate that cultural roots are so strong that each gets pulled indifferent directions.
In "Poor little black fellow," a similar incident occurs with a white couple adopting their dead servant's black child (they call the child 'it'). Also here we see culture doing things to the Pemebertons that they didn't like and compelling them to act in certain ways. They had to go first class, their adopted son second class. The white couple try to get him to go to Versailles. He prefers his Negro crowd -- again the cultural differences! And the story ends by Pemberton who had never been so emotionally disturbed over anything in his life fainting when Arnie announces his intentions to marry a 'white, white omanian girl. To Americans such as Pemberton, Black and White do not mix. Enculturation dominated itself over everything, swamping fraternal feeling.

Du Bois, too, sees the dignity that….

In "The Negro Artist and the Racial Mountain," Hughes speaks greatly about jazz, noting that the blacks in Harlem are not afraid to be the way that they are, unlike the middle-class blacks who Hughes accuses of constantly trying to act like they are white. One of the aspects of this group that Hughes points to is jazz music, along with gospel music. Thus, Hughes points to jazz as the ideal -- where blacks express themselves freely through their own art. Jazz, then, like racism and race, was a major component of Hughes life that greatly impacts his work.
But while Hughes' lyrical work is the most prominent feature of his life, he was not only a poet and an intellectual. Hughes was, like many blacks during his time, a hard working man, a man who worked at many blue-collar jobs. Fishman states that Hughes had his first job during….

Instead of simply imagining Hughes sitting in the room with the musician, now the reader can see himself in that room; he can hear the music for himself; he can almost feel the pulse of the pianist stomping his foot on the floor. In the poem "The Weary Blues," Langston Hughes expertly uses musical allusions to bring the reader into his world.
The inclusion of musical allusions remained a theme in Langston Hughes' work throughout his life and career. Later in his life, in Montage of a Dream Deferred (1951), he published a poem called "Dream Boogie." This is a poem that also uses musical allusions. "The Weary Blues" uses the blues to drive it; "Dream Boogie" uses jazz.

The part of jazz that stands out is the aspect that is off-melody, the part that is off-rhythm. While most musical forms find value in the musician's ability to follow the melody….

As a participant in the American history, the author feels that he was among those deceived by the empty promises of democracy and equality: "Yet I'm the one who dreamt our basic dream / in the Old orld while still a serf of kings, / ho dreamt a dream so strong, so brave, so true, / That even yet its mighty daring sings / in every brick and stone, in every furrow turned / That's made America the land it has become."(Hughes) Slowly the negative tone of the poem changes and Hughes directs his views to the future of the nation, where the American Dream still remains to be fulfilled: "O, let America be America again-- / the land that never has been yet-- / and yet must be -- the land where every man is free. / the land that's mine -- the poor man's, Indian's, Negro's, ME….


Similar to Hughes' usage of strong emotions to effectively convey his message in the poem, "Dream Deferred," Billie Holiday's songs focus mainly on the emotional, using the themes of love, pain, and loneliness as the anchors through which Holiday expressed her emotions as she sang these songs. "Gloomy Sunday" is an example of a song that expressed love and loneliness. The lyrics of the song are straightforward, and the longing and loving expressed in the song is applicable to anyone and not only exclusive to the experience of African-Americans.

Indeed, the writing style and exclusivity or universality of the themes become the point of departure of the similarities between Hughes' and Holiday's poetry and songs, respectively. Looking at Hughes' poetry, it is evident that his writing style is creatively developed through the usage of symbolism and metaphors, not to mention the exclusivity or context-dependent themes and issues depicted in his poems.….

When he explains that the "muddy bosom" of the river (or, of the life of the black culture) turns "all golden in the sunset," that is a sweet transition for a culture, and nothing less than mystical, magical and wonderful. Turning mud to gold is the miracle of survival through all the chaos, carnage, and brutal injustices done to black people over the centuries.
In "Mother to Son" the poet is using the genre of family, the power structure in the nuclear family, to make a statement to the whole culture of African-Americans. While the first poem uses broad brushstrokes on a global canvas -- pointing to the past, and the black culture's survival as it moves forward into the future like the flow of a river -- in "Mother to Son" Hughes brings his message home, using the stairs as a metaphor for human struggles and the strength it….


It is necessary to consider this schizoid view in detail. The opposite of love is hate. hile the black may love, they also have a dark side of hate close by. This is why he accentuates the love of blackness and asserted it so strongly, particularly at a time when it was not politically correct to do so. He is particularly pained by the fact that black men are not loving black women (or light skinned, if not white women). No wonder this type of mother is saying "don't be like niggers." hile she loves her son, she hates herself and her people and this self-loathing does not help her son's impressions at all.

In "Sweet Brown Harlem Girl," David Jarraway remarks that in this and his other Harlem poems Hughes is looking at this love theme as part of a variety of dream postponements. Due to the general disappointment and….

Poetry of Langston Hughes
There are three poems of Langston Hughes' upon which the paper will focus. Those poems are: "I, too," "Democracy," and "Let America be America Again." "I, too" was a poem of focus earlier on in the course. "Democracy" and "Let America be America Again" are other poems with various similarities that the paper will bring to light over the course of the comparison. Some of the elements of the poetry that will be compared include themes, symbols, language, and metaphors. Through comparison of these poems, the paper will demonstrate just some of the commonalities across Hughes' body of work.

"I, too" is written in the first person. There are five stanzas in all. The first stanza and the last stanza only consists of one sentence. Each sentence begins with "I, too" and there is a mention of America. The middle three stanzas consist of several lines, and….

Pedagogy -- Langston Hughes and Frederick Douglass
Critical Pedagogy in Literature

There are two phenomena -- discrete even in their close relation -- called structural violence and cultural violence that I have recently learned to call by their socio-political monikers. A discussion about structural and cultural violence is relevant to the topic of the paper since both exemplify the foundation upon which racial prejudice and justification for social class rests. To truly understand how astonishing the perceptions of Frederick Douglass were, particularly given his young age, and to appreciate the place of courage and rage from which Langston Hughes wrote, it is essential to know deeply about structural violence and cultural violence. To that end, this paper will endeavor to weave theories about structural violence, cultural violence, and critical pedagogy throughout the discussion about how two important literary figures understood literacy and education to be a means to defying cultural and….

Dream Variations by Langston Hughes
Langston Hughes, born in 1902, in Joplin Missouri, in the middle of a segregated country that allowed its African-American population to develop up to a certain level, never above the lowest of the white classes, even in the happiest of cases. He wrote his poetry like a man who was proud to express his African-American descent and was the first to introduce the music rhythms of his African ancestry along with those of his American more recent cultural identity into the poetry he wrote.

Langston Hughes poem "Dream Variations," written in the form of a stanza, expresses the dream of a whole population caught under the merciless and implacable laws of discrimination based on the color of its skin. Dreaming of being completely free is a constant of the human race and the humanity in those often treated as sub-humans by their fellow countrymen is reaffirmed in….

The cultural movements of the Roaring Twenties, such as the Jazz Age, the Harlem Renaissance, and the rise of flappers, had a significant impact on society's views on traditional norms and values. These movements challenged and often subverted long-held beliefs and customs, leading to a shift in attitudes towards issues such as gender roles, race, sexuality, and the role of government.

One of the most noticeable changes during this time was the shifting attitudes towards gender roles. The rise of the flapper, who was characterized by her independence, bold fashion choices, and embrace of new social freedoms, challenged the traditional image....

The Roaring Twenties: A Catalyst for Social Transformation

The Roaring Twenties, a vibrant and transformative decade that unfolded after the cataclysmic horrors of World War I, witnessed an unprecedented surge in cultural movements that profoundly impacted society's entrenched views on traditional norms and values. These movements challenged established conventions, promoted individualism, and fostered a spirit of liberation that reverberated throughout the social fabric.

The Rise of Modernism

Modernism, a multifaceted movement encompassing art, literature, and design, emerged as a radical departure from the ornate and sentimental past. Modernist artists favored abstract forms, geometric shapes, and fragmented perspectives, seeking to break free from traditional....

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6 Pages
Essay

Literature

Langston Hughes' Democracy a Number of Ideas

Words: 1878
Length: 6 Pages
Type: Essay

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…

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2 Pages
Essay

Literature

Langston Hughes Poetry a Reflection of the

Words: 714
Length: 2 Pages
Type: Essay

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…

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8 Pages
Essay

Literature

Langston Hughes Poet of Experience

Words: 2196
Length: 8 Pages
Type: Essay

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…

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5 Pages
Term Paper

Race

Langston Hughes Method of Exposing Racism and

Words: 1450
Length: 5 Pages
Type: Term Paper

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,…

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4 Pages
Term Paper

Music

Langston Hughes Felt That African-Americans Should Be

Words: 1117
Length: 4 Pages
Type: Term Paper

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.…

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2 Pages
Essay

Literature

Langston Hughes More Understanding Than

Words: 698
Length: 2 Pages
Type: Essay

Hughes seems to indicate that cultural roots are so strong that each gets pulled indifferent directions. In "Poor little black fellow," a similar incident occurs with a white couple…

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6 Pages
Thesis

Literature

Langston Hughes the Impact of

Words: 1982
Length: 6 Pages
Type: Thesis

In "The Negro Artist and the Racial Mountain," Hughes speaks greatly about jazz, noting that the blacks in Harlem are not afraid to be the way that they…

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3 Pages
Research Paper

Music

Langston Hughes to Say That

Words: 960
Length: 3 Pages
Type: Research Paper

Instead of simply imagining Hughes sitting in the room with the musician, now the reader can see himself in that room; he can hear the music for himself;…

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4 Pages
Term Paper

Literature

Langston Hughs Poem Langston Hughes'

Words: 1315
Length: 4 Pages
Type: Term Paper

As a participant in the American history, the author feels that he was among those deceived by the empty promises of democracy and equality: "Yet I'm the one…

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3 Pages
Essay

Music

Langston Hughes & Billie Holiday

Words: 965
Length: 3 Pages
Type: Essay

Similar to Hughes' usage of strong emotions to effectively convey his message in the poem, "Dream Deferred," Billie Holiday's songs focus mainly on the emotional, using the themes of…

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3 Pages
Essay

Black Studies

Langston Hughes Poetry the Two

Words: 1061
Length: 3 Pages
Type: Essay

When he explains that the "muddy bosom" of the river (or, of the life of the black culture) turns "all golden in the sunset," that is a sweet…

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image
3 Pages
Essay

Literature

Langston Hughes' Poetry Appears to

Words: 1356
Length: 3 Pages
Type: Essay

It is necessary to consider this schizoid view in detail. The opposite of love is hate. hile the black may love, they also have a dark side of hate…

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5 Pages
Research Paper

Literature

Poetry of Langston Hughes There Are Three

Words: 1436
Length: 5 Pages
Type: Research Paper

Poetry of Langston Hughes There are three poems of Langston Hughes' upon which the paper will focus. Those poems are: "I, too," "Democracy," and "Let America be America Again."…

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6 Pages
Essay

Teaching

Pedagogy -- Langston Hughes and Frederick Douglass

Words: 2040
Length: 6 Pages
Type: Essay

Pedagogy -- Langston Hughes and Frederick Douglass Critical Pedagogy in Literature There are two phenomena -- discrete even in their close relation -- called structural violence and cultural violence that…

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1 Pages
Term Paper

Literature

Dream Variations by Langston Hughes

Words: 325
Length: 1 Pages
Type: Term Paper

Dream Variations by Langston Hughes Langston Hughes, born in 1902, in Joplin Missouri, in the middle of a segregated country that allowed its African-American population to develop up to a…

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