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Poetry Research Paper on Langston Hughes - Essay Example

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Instructor Date Poetry Research Paper on Langston Hughes Langston Hughes was born James Mercer Langston Hughes, in Joplin, Missouri (United States) in 1902. He died aged 65 in New York City; in 1967.Hughes is arguably, one of the most sought after writers of the 20th Century…
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Poetry Research Paper on Langston Hughes
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Download file to see previous pages His was to make, living forever, the pride found in the African-American identity and culture. Through writings and action, he boldly campaigned against racial stereotypes and social injustices against the Blacks. He tirelessly worked to bring the idea of African-American beauty into reality as in one of his poems, My People: The Night is Beautiful, So the faces of my people. The Stars are beautiful, So the eyes of my people. Beautiful, also, in the sun. Beautiful, also, are the souls of my people (Leach, 7). Langston Hughes and his contemporaries tried, in their literary works, to describe the real life of their people, who belonged to the lower economic classes, and with miserable life. They strongly opposed discrimination against Blacks by Whites, based on skin color. These were people who were not ashamed of being black during a time when being black was considered a curse. Hughes emphasized the idea of “black is beautiful” and therefore took it upon his life to explore this beauty largely (Leach 5). Hughes promoted a nationalism characterized by not only racial consciousness but also one, which had a cultural inclination, free of self-hate, a characteristic of Blacks in Africa. He encouraged them to be proud of their cultural identity. His technical experience was seen in his emphasis on the use of folk and jazz rhythms as a corner stone for his poems. He first published his poem, “The Negro Speaks of Rivers,” in The Crisis in 1921. Many considered this poem as his signature poem. He proceeded to publish his first collection of poetry, The Weary Blues, a collection in which he included the “signature poem” (Leach 5). “The Negro Speaks of Rivers” is a poem, which has attracted both critics and fans alike. Its allusions of dusky rivers, the setting sun, sleep, and the soul provides with both the idea of death and immortality. The poet bounces back to life from desperate grief, an action he does by resorting to his belief in his people and his sense of identity with them. He portrays his weak self as a child as well as that of his father. He uses the imagery of a muddy river for his race. This is where he gets his source of life, from the “muddy bosom” (black mother). Hughes also equates his vision to the angle at which the sun shines above the muddy water, which has the power to turn mud into gold (Rampersad qtd. in On “The Negro Speaks of Rivers”). As Owuchekwa Jemie puts it, Hughes accounts in this poem go back to a period before human existence. The rivers can be traced back to the time of creation, and with that is part of God’s eternity since they are everything from deep, mysterious and even continuous. Hughes has named them in chronological pattern, similar to that of the Black man’s history. Their waters have given the black man an immortal life. He has actually become part of the river. Hughes also captures Abraham Lincoln’s freeing of black slaves in the writer’s unprecedented turning of the muddy Mississippi into gold. Just like the river, the black man’s soul becomes deep with time. The waters in these rivers also flow incessantly, a declaration that the human soul will endure all the difficulties. In addition, since the blacks have seen civilizations come and go, they will certainly emerge victorious at the end. According to Jean Wagner, the Black’s long history endows them with a rare form of wisdom; wisdom better than that of the great civilizations in man’ ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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