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The Art and Life of Langston Hughes - Research Paper Example

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This paper discusses the art and life of Langston Hughes, who was one of the most renowned poets in the world of literature and was also an accomplished playwright, novelist, and essayist as well. His poems carried a deep message that shed light on numerous issues in American society…
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The Art and Life of Langston Hughes
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Download file to see previous pages Langston Hughes has written countless prose and poems and was known to be highly prolific at that. Despite the popularity of his essays and novels, the substance of this prose will focus on Hughes’ poetic feats, which were known to be inspired by his own life experiences. Hence in order to gain an analytical and evaluative insight into his poetry, it is first important to gain an insight into the life of the poet, who has earned tremendous accolade for his work. (Rampersad & McLaren, 2002) Langston Hughes was born James Mercer Langston Hughes in Joplin, Missouri and had a very multiracial background as both his parents were of mixed race. His mother worked as a school teacher and his father, James Nathaniel Hughes was a storekeeper. James Nathaniel Hughes abandoned his family when Langston Hughes was very young and after the legal dissolution of his parents’ marriage, Langston had a very unstable childhood as a result. He went on to live with his grandmother and then after her demise, he then moved in with his family friends. The early parts of his life were not entirely happy and were somewhat turbulent, due to his parents’ deteriorating marriage and his father’s subsequent abandonment. (Rampersad & McLaren, 2002) He later moved back in with his mother and his step-father in Lincoln, Illinois. He attended Lincoln grammar school and it was there where he discovered his avid love and penchant for literature, particularly poetry. He was voted as the class poet, but he was perturbed by the fact that due to his racial background Langston was often the victim of racial stereotyping as there were only two African American boys in his class; including Langston Hughes, and that is when he realized the divide between the African American community and the White segment of the American population. This feature of the American society has been the major themes of his poetry. He was heavily inspired by Carl Sandburg’s poetry and his unrhymed free verse style immensely impressed him. After graduating from high school, Hughes returned to live with his father in Mexico, where he was staying in order to avoid racism that pervaded the entire north of America. Langston hoped that by moving in with his father he would be able to convince him to finance his education at Columbia University. There was a major rife between Langston and his father as a result of his constant criticism and opposition to his dream of becoming a writer. (Rampersad & McLaren, 2002) The friction in the father-son relationship was not only caused by strong opposition to Langston’s aspirations but was also due to their conflicting personalities. There was such a strong rife in their relationship that Langston contemplated suicide at one point. One of the many reasons for the divide was apparent hate and revulsion for his own race. This came into conflict with Langston’s values, and he had a great sense of pride and loved the American race. Prior to his father’s hatred for the African American race, Langston Hughes’ stated, “I had been thinking about my father and his strange dislike of his own people. I didn't understand it because I was a Negro, and I liked Negroes very much.” (Bloom, 2007, p. 6) His father persistently tried to dissuade Langston from taking up writing as a profession. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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