Langston Hughes Use of Literary Devices
Only a half of century after the abolition of slavery, the African Americans began the movement of the Harlem Renaissance in the 1920‘s. Suppressed by whites, segregation, second-class citizen ship and a poor education Langston Hughes became one of the most inspirational poets of his time. Langston Hughes let the world know of his existence through his poetry. Ignited with passion, pride and knowledge of the journey through slavery and there after, Hughes used his poetry to paint the world through the eyes, ears and voice of an African American. His magnificent use of similes, metaphors, symbolism and imagery intensify just that. In Hughes poems “Harlem - A Dream Deferred” and “ I, Too” his use of these literary devices brings his poetry to life.
Imagery and similes are a vital part of Hughes poetry. In “Harlem- A Dream Deferred”, Hughes use of imagery and similes go hand in hand. He uses Imagery to rouse the reader’s senses. “What Happens to a Dream Deferred?” (L1) “Does it dry up, like a raisin in the sun?” (L2 & L3) The Imagery here is what the raisin once was. The raisin once was a luscious grape that had been left in the sun and forgotten. The simile here brings this line to life. The deferred dream compared to a dried up raisin refers giving up on or letting go of your dream. “Or Fester like a sore, and then run” (L4 & L5) here the imagery evokes the pain of a sore and becomes infected. The simile of “like a sore” (L4) is how the regret of not following a dream can infect your soul. “Does it stink like rotten meat?” (L6) Evokes the sense of smell and ties in to the simile. Hughes compares the rotten smell to a dream that has festered away. It does nothing but disappoint the dreamer. “Or maybe it sags, like a heave load” (L9 & L10), brings to mind a heavy load or feeling of defeat. “Or does it explode” (L11) is the use of sound and compares it to self-destruction. Hughes uses similes to create his imagery. Comparing a forgotten or un followed dream to things that eventually go bad over time and ultimately destruct. This poem was a direct interpretation of African Americans of this time. While they were free, they were still second-class citizens. Therefore, their dreams were not tangible like that of the whites.
In the time that...