"I, Too Sing America" is one of many poems written by Langston Hughes that focuses on African American culture. Written in the 20th century, America was moving toward the climax of the civil rights movement. "I, Too Sing America" responds to "I Hear America Singing" by Walt Whitman. Langston Hughes became famous during the Harlem Renaissance because of his many poems written about African American lifestyle. This particular poem looks into what many black people hoped their future would look like. This poem uses direct language coupled with a hopeful and patriotic tone to help the reader understand his passion for equality among blacks and whites.
Hughes originally wrote this poem in response to Walt Whitman's "I Hear America Singing." Whitman, a white author, focused on the patriotism and joyful spirits of current American people. For example, he says "The day what belongs to the day—at night the party of young fellows, robust, friendly, Singing with open mouths their strong melodious songs." He describes different American jobs while using a gleeful and patriotic tone. Whitman published this poem in 1855, at a time when immigrants segregated themselves away from other Americans and many black people were not totally free of slavery. Whitman does not mention African-Americans or any type of immigrants in his poem. Hughes, however, promotes wider equality. Hughes writes in response reminding the people that African-Americans are just as much apart of this American dream culture that Whitman describes.
Along with making this poem as a response to Whitman, Hughes uses direct words and language to emphasize his point. The first stanza is six lines and talks about the current discrimination between whites and blacks. Hughes uses assonance between similar words in the second and third lines. The assonance highlights words that point out what the speaker is experiencing in the white household. There is also parallel anapest meter between the last three lines of that stanza. This meter helps emphasize the positive words that prove that the "darker brother" grew stronger regardless of the way people treated him. The accented words all point out that the speaker of the poem was not fazed by the unfair discrimination. Along with this parallel meter, Hughes uses short and direct sentences in this poem. He does this because he has a direct point and he wants all the white Americans to understand that the African Americans are patriotic and want a place in the country. The direct language allows the reader to grasp Hughes' main idea of racial equality.
The second stanza is a look into the future of America, and Hughes' hopes. He uses hopeful phrases like "I'll be." He is certain that America will change. He has...