March 20, 2015
There’s a range of talented young writers that inspire to be something greater such as an inspiration to the younger generation but one that will always stand out to me would be the American author/writer Langston Hughes. He is undoubtedly one of the most influential novelists of our time. The critic Donald B. Gibson stated in his introduction: A Collection of Critical Essays (Prentice Hall, 1973) that Langston Hughes “differed from most to Modern Black Poets of his predecessors among black poet”. Meaning that he used unique, various techniques to attract the reader and he addressed his poetry to the people, specifically referring to black people. This was a necessary time period to do so because blacks were treated very unjustly. His poems and books were so successful because there were genres contained of drama, struggle, and feelings of wanting to be free from oppression/discrimination because of race or color. Examples of this category would include his famous poems, The Weary Blues and Dream variations. In a sense, his poems were not only setting a statement but a cultural uplifting as well. He wanted to put out the stories and experiences of his black people in various ways that reflected their actual culture, including both their suffering and their love of music, the joy/laughter, and language itself. Like many writers Mr. Hughes wrote about what he knew basically, which means the people, places, and the numerous events going on around him, but although Hughes was nice and friendly to all types of people, the rich, poor, the middle class etc. It was the specific people he referred to as “Low down Folks” who had the greatest influence on his poetry along with writers such as Paul Lawrence Dunbar, Carl Sandburg, and the well-known Walt Whitman. He was motivated by his people, and he wanted the young black generation to be more objective to their race rather than for them to scorn (negatively talk about) or leave it. From poetry to novels, and his works of prose to his eleven plays, Langston Hughes did it all.
1. A question that many people seem to wonder including me would be that what made Langston Hughes decide to become a writer? The struggle and pain of his people pushed him to wanting to write about it in poetry. During the time period, the majority of the African American people were in a state of weariness and expressed their struggle through music, poetry and other forms of art. When Langston was in high school, one of Hughes teachers originally introduced him to the poetry of Carl Sandburg and Walt Whitman, both whom Langston would later label as his primary influences. Later on in high school, Langston became a dedicated contributor to his schools Literary Magazine but also sometimes to other local poetry magazines even though he was often rejected or turned down. After his graduation from his high school in 1920, that following year in 1921 Langston stayed with his biological father down in Mexico. Somewhere during this specific time one of Hughes early poems “The negro speaks of rivers” has been published in the popular Crisis Magazine and did very well. This was a signification that Langston was becoming a noticeable black writer. Later that year he moved back into the US. It was until he went back to Columbia University Langston chose to become a part of Harlem’s renaissance in which he played a major role in. This was a cultural movement that attracted black artists, musicians, writers, photographers, poets and scholars to come together in a time of struggle and discrimination. Soon Langston dropped out of Colombia University and began to work many odd jobs or a casual or isolated piece of work, especially one of a routine domestic or manual nature. Langston Hughes popularity among the much younger generation of black writers was vast. It helped him gain popularity not only from black writers but