Poetry Analysis Paper

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Shelby Grant
Per.8
Langston Hughes is a well known African American poet that emerged during the
Harlem Renaissance. Writers like Carl Sandburg, Walt Whitman, and Paul Lawrence Dunbar were some of Hughes’ influences as well as his everyday life. During this time jazz was the new genre of music and the biggest thing in Harlem. All of these things formed the way that Hughes wrote and what he wrote about. Within his writing he has reoccurring themes of manipulation of women, desire to escape, yet to overcome, and empowerment. He has a unique way of showing imagery without being very descriptive, he just tells the story and it can seem as if the reader can see what he saw. His Diction is informal with his use of ethnic slang. Hughes uses simple sentence syntax that helps compose his abcb rhyme scheme. All though his stanza aren’t always broken up, when reading the poems and hearing the flow of the poem it is inferred that there is always four lines in each stanza.
50­50 and Ballad of the Fortune Teller are two poems that have the theme of manipulation of women. He both poems women meet men, take them into their homes, give them everything that they have. In the end they were left with nothing. The men never really loved them. The women were used for their material things and the men never really loved them like they did. In 50­50 Hughes poem structure goes against the four lines in each stanza and his rhyme scheme is totally different. But those are the only differences. This poem has an open form unlike the others with a set format with rhyme scheme, line and stanza structure. Is diction is informal which is shown by his use of the phrase “Ain’t got nobody”. This shows that the

speaker is uneducated. The speech within the poem comes across as conversational and slangy.
“Trouble with you is” can be an example of this as well as “Ain’t got nobody”. The sentence structure is simple. This poem is more of a short story. The tone was desperate because of the woman longer to share her life with a significant other. Ballad of the Fortune Teller is a good example of the reoccurring structure in most of his poems. There is a rhyme scheme of abcb that contributes to his four line stanza. Within the first two stanzas that are seen as one if where his story begins and the reader can see the scene without Hughes being descriptive. It the way that he sets up the scene that draws the reader in and makes the poem vivid. This poem has a poetic speech because of the rhyme scheme. After reading the poem a few time I realized that there is some irony within the poem. The poem is about a fortune teller who could see her client’s future by just looking at the palm of their hand and tell them everything, but she couldn’t tell her own even though the future was clear to see.
Madam and Her Madam and Life is Fine share the theme of a desire to escape but yet to overcome. In Madam and Her Madam a woman tells a story about how she used to be a maid for a very rich woman. She would work really hard and the line “ It was too much, nearly broke me down” shows how she was just tired and wanted to escape from her work even though this was the only job she could get in these times. But in the end she overcomes by showing that she will refuse to be a kiss up. She asks the woman why she works her so hard and she says that she doesn’t try to and that she loves her. The maid responds by saying, “Madam, that may be true, but I’ll be dogged if I love you.” This shows how the woman refuses give the woman what she wants. She I here to work and not to win you over because she sees through her like glass and knows that her day will come when the tables will turn. This poem is in closed form because of

the four line stanza and the abcb rhyme scheme at the end of each line. The diction is informal throughout. The speech style is conversational and poetic. The tone is tired but is at the end it changes to assertive when the…