Langston Hughes Essay

1034 words - 4 pages

Growing up in a time period where African Americans had little rights, Langston Hughes became a poet who had many hopes and aspirations for a better future for all African Americans. He grew up in Harlem and was raised by his grandmother. Being a native of Harlem, he was a very strong influence in the Harlem Renaissance during the 1920's. Langston always stayed true to his African American heritage; his racial pride played a dominant role throughout his life, which is evident in his poems.Langston's father, James Nathaniel Hughes, was not supportive figure in his son's life. James was also Milado, but he did not share the same pride in which Langston lived his life. In fact, he hated his black heritage, and was very much against Langston expressing his pride through poetry and writings. James disapproved of his son being a writer. It was very difficult for him to handle the fact that his son had so much pride in something that he was so against. His hopes were that Langston would be a businessman, figuring that would the only way in which a black person could make it.Throughout his poems, Langston discusses his hopes for a better future for all African Americans. In one of his earlier poems, I Too, he looks for a future respect from others. This hope for a better future is evident through his word choice. He uses words such as "tomorrow" to symbolize the future. In the poem, I Too, he writes: Sisson-2 "Tomorrow, I'll be at the table When company comes.Nobody'll dare Say to me, "Eat in the Kitchen," Then." This entire quote is his way of looking to the future, a future of equal rights and respect. In the beginning of his career, he was young and very hopeful. He was one of many young African American writers in the Harlem Renaissance, they all were hopeful and would express their pride through their writings. In a review of Hughes works, Countee Cullen writes about Hughes and this group of writers. " This poet represents a transcendently emancipated spirit among a class of young writers whose particular battle-cry is freedom." ( Mullen, 37) Although Lanston wrote books, and plays, he considered himself to be a poet before anything else. He felt that poetry was a better way to communicate to his black community, because it was easier to understand, and did not require much education. His poems were not only influenced by his pride, but also through the music around him. Being brought up in Harlem, rhythm and blues were in his everyday life. Through this, he was able to take his sense of rhythm and correlate it within his poems. His poems flow very easily, often times they are read aloud to get a feel of the rhythm. Because of this, he would frequently have jazz musicians and singers at his readings to go along with Sisson-3 his rhythm and blues theme. In one of his poems, Lenox Avenue: Midnight, he writes of jazz being the rhythm of life. " The rhythm of life Is jazz rhythm,...

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