Identity in the Works of Langston Hughes - Research Paper Example

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This paper will examine the identity in the works of Langston Hughes. In order to look into his perspective successfully, the paper will explore his works that clearly depict his cultural roots and identity. Hughes considered identity as a central point of an individual’s existence…
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Identity in the Works of Langston Hughes
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Download file to see previous pages James Mercer Langston Hughes was not only a poet, but he was also a playwright, journalist, essayist, novelist, and a cultural leader. He was considered as one of the most renowned African-American poet and was born on February 1, 1902 in Joplin, Missouri. He was raised by her maternal grandmother in Lawrence, Kansas. His mother is a teacher; however, his parents got separated when he was born. As he was raised by his grandmother, she can be considered as Langston Hughes greatest influence. She inculcated into the curious mind of her grandchild the racial courage and pride that were exhibited by her two husbands. Aside from his grandmother, Langston Hughes was also inspired to write in high school by Paul Laurence Dunbar and Carl Sandburg. However, in college, he enrolled at the Columbia University and took up engineering. Nonetheless, he decided to pursue his passion for writing and dropped his engineering course after a year at the university. He had already published some of his poems in The Brownies’ Book and The Crisis, and was able to live in Europe and West Africa for six months when he signed up as a freighter in SS Malone. By the time he was working at the Wardman Park Hotel as a busboy, he was able to show some of his poems to Vachel Lindsay. Lindsay was impressed and helped Langston Hughes to have his small publicity. With this on hand, he was then enrolled at the Lincoln University as an undergraduate (Finkelman 469-470). The peak of Langston Hughes racial and class identification was during his travel towards the borders of Mexico. During 1907 and 1943, he had travelled to Mexico four times which allowed him to stay for almost two years in Toluca and Mexico City. He particularly chose Mexico because this was where his father decided to retire. Langston Hughes father was one of the reasons why he decided to explore and reconnect to his roots, and aspire to acquire the identity that his father had denied. His father had always been scornful of the black American culture, which pushed Langston Hughes more to open the door to his roots. However, his journey towards his self-exploration did not come easy. Building his own identity as a black American was a steep route that the young Langston Hughes took (Mullen). As Langston Hughes history states, he has been torn in accommodating himself with two different cultures. As a kid and towards his adult life, he was relocated from one residence to another and was considerably questioning his true identity during his lifetime. His struggle against the racist system of America during his time is very much evident in his poems. As an African American, he saw Africa as a refugee’s haven where the African Americans would be able to experience equality and freedom. This is depicted in his poem Dream Variations. His longing for his roots was a clear manifestation of his dismissal of the oppressive actions and values of the Americans towards the African Americans. He created a pleasing haven for African Americans in his poems by describing Africa as a fruitful land in contradictory to America where Africans are abused and controlled. His poem the Negro speaks of Africans as being transported and enslaved. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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