For Prof. Waller’s Argumentative Essay
Langston Hughes A Great American Poet
Langston Hughes a poet that spoke about the life of as a black during the twenties through the sixties. Hughes had a way of making his poetry insightful to the point where the reader could feel as if he or she had been placed right in the time that Hughes was in. Hughes had a long career and many of his works are still popular with readers today. He was one of the poets that thrived and contributed a lot of poetry during a time known as The Harlem Renaissance. Hughes worked hard to become the poem, writer and author he is known to be today because he was a dream and he believed in work toward all of his dreams. His works give a great example of times he lived in, clues to his past and how he felt while living in those times.
Hughes was born in 1902 in Missouri and sent a majority of his life being raised by his grandmother. After the passing of his Grandmother Hughes bounced around a few cities with his mother. Once he graduated he spent time with his father in New Mexico. Hughes when on to explore place like Spain and Europe making his way back to the United states just in time for the time period known as the Harlem Renaissance. Hughes felt like Harlem was home the moment he stepped foot in the city that many black people called home during the 1920’s. Hughes played a huge role in the Harlem Renaissance as an author, play writer, and poet. Often time Hughes works were published in journals such as The Nation and Fire!!. Many agree that “during its first stirrings, Langston Hughes was understood to be one of its most promising talents” (Harlem Project), of the Harlem Renaissance. Hughes poem “The Big Sea” was all about him falling in love with Harlem, NY. Hughes had been a lot of places but it is clear the Harlem held a special place in his heart. While in Harlem during the Renaissance Hughes’s poem started to pick up the feel of Jazz music which had become very popular during that time.
In Hughes’s poem “I, Too” he spoke on how African American were treated as second class citizens. Often times African Americans had to eat in the back or the kitchens in restaurants. Racism is something that was a huge issue during the time “I, Too” was written. “They send me to eat in the kitchen/ when company comes,” (3-4). Hughes’s way of drawing attention to the issue was to simply write a poem. In this poem he states that he will comply with eating in the kitchen for now but he does not plan on having to eat in the back for long. Hughes felt like the things that were happening to African Americans during that time would not last forever. He uses the word “Tomorrow” (8), as a reference to the near future. Hughes longs for “the darker brother.” (2), to sit at the table and to accept by “company” (10). Hughes refers to white society as company it is them that he wishes to be on the same level with. Hughes believed that segregation was wrong and that one day people would look back on it and embarrassed. He finished his poem with the line “I, too, am American.” (18), it was his way of stating that no matter what happens that could not be taken away from him.
In the next poem “Harlem” Hughes poses a question “What happens to a dream deferred?” (1), Hughes asked this question to spark awareness it can sometimes be very easy to put dreams on the back burner to deal with life situations. Hughes then begins comparing dreams to things such as a raisin, a sore, the smell of rotten meat, and the crust of harden syrup. All thing that could be considered negative or thing that most would try to avoid.
What happens to a dream deferred?
Does it dry up like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore-
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over- like a syrupy sweet?
May it just sags like a heavy load.
Or does it explode?
Hughes was a person that believed that dreams were meant to be chased