“Let America Be America Again” And “Harlem

1004 words - 4 pages

Compare and Contrast Since the beginning of his life, Langston Hughes, knew that he was going to be something. His contribution to the Harlem renaissance will not be forgotten. Nor will the way he uses jazz, blues, and gospel music to revel in how far blacks have really come. I will compare and contrast two of his most popular works, ?Let America Be America Again? and ?Harlem?. To understand the compare and contrast you must first have a brief, yet detailed explanation of both of the works. Let us first approach ?Let America Be America Again?, Hughes tone is probably the first issue addressed. His tone has an understood wisdom that America was free for those who weren?t black. Although it has a kind of whiny tone, it isn?t. Hughes has been beaten down, but the fact that he is a survivor means that he won?t give up. He starts off in line 2 stating that America was created for the sole purpose of freedom. He also implies in line 3 and 4 that our country was founded for the sole purpose of freedom. In fact and I quote, ?Let it be the pioneer on the plain Seeking a home where he himself is free?. Hughes was a man of many talents and one of them was his perceptiveness. A perfect example is in stanza 25, where he states, ?Of dog eat dog, of mighty crush the weak?. In essence he said its kill or be killed, survival of the fittest. You would think that everyone would agree, but then again a lot of common sense has been lost. Or simply the fact that America is apathetic and cares only for one person, themselves. He then goes on to describe that he is, or our race is, poor and uneducated, etc? But the simple fact remains that we may be beaten down, but we are far from dead (he now is speaking of every race that is or has been persecuted in America). In stanza 60 the most basic and one of the most important of human emotions shines through Hughes. ?America never was America to me, And yet I swear this oath-America will be!? What is the most basic instinct, survival of course.Now let us approach, ?Harlem? which is one of my personal favorites because of its realism. Written nearly a decade later and in a completely different tone this poem can baffle readers who aren?t used to Hughes use of conventional wisdom. This poem has eleven, quick to the point, short lines. Each one asks a different question, to understand it we will break it down into five different questions. The first is ?What happens to a dream deferred?? This question has a variety of different answers depending on the person. Since it is written for everyone to enjoy or not, the answer must be whatever you think. In other words there is no wrong answer or you could just play it safe and say that it is rhetorical. The...

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