This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

Langston Hughes And Countee Cullen: The Harlem Renaissance, African American Identity And Isolation

1499 words - 6 pages

The Harlem Renaissance became a defining moment for the African –American race because of the burst of skill and creativity produced during that time. African Americans were becoming writers, actors, and artist; the Harlem Renaissance was a creative movement. The Harlem Renaissance began and flourished as a literary movement. The background, political, and social views of the major writers of the Harlem Renaissance remained different throughout the movement, but they all gave voice to the African-American existence. Langston Hughes, a writer during the Harlem Renaissance, depicted African-American life through his writing. This differed from other writers such as Countee Cullen. Hughes ...view middle of the document...

Black identity could be found through writing, music, and art. Black isolation could be solved by creating a connection with other white Americans had as artist, musicians, and writers. Many people considered Hughes and Cullen as representing “two antagonistic strands of Harlem Renaissance thinking about the role of the black artist, the nature of African-American literature” (Hutchison 112). Although the writers may be “antagonistic”, they both represent two important elements of the Harlem Renaissance seeking to end Black isolation by creating an African-American identity.
Langston Hughes was born James Mercer Langston Hughes in Joplin, Missouri on February 1, 1902. His family history helped motivate his writing; his grandmother married two different abolitionists (her second husband Charles Langston, founded many African-American schools). Hughes, like many other black artists, left the United States and spent time in other countries such as France. “Inspired by his experiences abroad, Hughes returned to the United States late in 1924” and continued his writing shaped by both his personal experiences and black life in Harlem (Wintz 59). In 1926 Hughes enrolled himself in Lincoln University where he met a major patron of the period: Mrs. Charlotte Osgood Mason. Mason was a “highly unusual, even eccentric white woman” (Wintz 63). Mason offered Hughes financially comfort by paying for his writing endeavors. His writing style was influenced by the major music of the Harlem Renaissance: jazz and blues. He would later come to be described as “versatile and persistent “in his writing style (Wintz 56). His writing would revolutionize African-American poetry by vividly depicting African-American life through his poetry.
Hughes early work was criticized by Black intellectuals because of his portrayal of the true, but unflattering view of black life. Langston Hughes writes I Too Sing America in rebuttal to Walt Whitman’s I Sing America. Hughes poem begins “I, too, sing America” . Hughes suggests that he too is America, as an African American. Hughes invokes the same ideas of togetherness that Whitman does within his poetry. He calls himself the “darker brother”; recognizing that he is African American and the brother of his lighter American citizens. Hughes is not only asserting his identity as a black man, but also his identity as an American. Hughes is famous for interweaving his personal life and experiences with depictions of African-American life and that is exactly what he is doing here. Hughes follows with the next stanza, “They send me to eat in the kitchen/When company comes”. He refers not only to slavery, but also to segregation; a time when African-Americans could not work better jobs besides being the help to whites. Hughes paints the picture of the depiction of current black life; working for the family, but sent to the kitchen away from the guest when company arrives. Hughes displays black people as second-class American citizen; sent...

Find Another Essay On Langston Hughes and Countee Cullen: The Harlem Renaissance, African-American Identity and Isolation

The Poetry of Langston Hughes During the Harlem Renaissance

2110 words - 8 pages “two-ness” of each entity which presented a double-consciousness (phrase coined by W.E.B. Dubois). However, the Harlem Renaissance gave birth to the African-American consciousness which paved the way for many African Americans to embrace and declare its values. The Harlem Renaissance is remembered through a plethora of virtual musical treasures and literature collections rather than the artistic movement it was. II. Langston Hughes “I’ve

Langston Hughes a Harlem Renaissance Man

1745 words - 7 pages Renaissance (Barksdale 23). The Harlem Renaissance warranted the expression of the double consciousness of the African Americans, which was exposed by artists such as Langston Hughes. James Mercer Langston Hughes was an African American poet, journalist, playwright, and novelist whose works were incredibly well known. It was during the peak of the Harlem Renaissance in which Langston Hughes produced poetry which was not just musically and

Langston Hughes: The Harlem Dream

1744 words - 7 pages Harlem Renaissance allowed for the manifestation of the double consciousness of the Negro race as demonstrated by artists such as Langston Hughes. During the height of the Harlem Renaissance Langston Hughes created poetry that was not only artistically and musically sound but also captured a blues essence giving life to a new style of poetry as it depicted the African American struggles with self and society. One thing is for sure, Hughes

Countee Cullen, The Most Representative Voice of The Harmlen Renaissance

800 words - 4 pages Countee Cullen was a very humbled and ambitious man. He was perhaps the most representative voice of the Harlem Renaissance. Countee Cullen was born on may 30, 1903 probably with the name Countee Leroy Lucas in Louisville, Kentucky. He was born to a women named Elizabeth Lucas but supposedly abandoned. Cullen was sent to live with his paternal grandmother in New York City. Then Cullen was adopted by Fredrick Asbury Cullen.Cullen

Langston Hughes, Prolific Writer Of Black Pride During The Harlem Renaissance

1665 words - 7 pages ). Blacks had to fight for their rights because it wasn’t handed to them. Racism manifested itself on many levels and had to be fought on many levels. This gave rise to influential black leaders in the fight for civil rights. Langston Hughes was one of those black leaders who arose during the Harlem Renaissance. He gave his people a voice and encouraged pride and hope through his literary work, to overcome racial discrimination. Langston Hughes

The Harlem Renaissance: Planned Phenomenon and The Search for An Identity

1516 words - 6 pages one of the greatest authors in the twentieth century and has more than once testified on behalf of African-American poets everywhere. Through his written works and articulations, he encouraged positive self-conscious and African-American pride. In contrast to other great poets, such as Countee Cullen who desperately wanted to be known simply as a poet, Hughes insisted on being recognized as an African-American poet as his works represented all

Analysis of Harlem by Langston Hughes

618 words - 2 pages Analysis of Harlem by Langston Hughes Through the turbulent decades of the 1920's through the 1960's many of the black Americans went through difficult hardships and found comfort only in dreaming. Those especially who lived in the ghettos' of Harlem would dream about a better place for them, their families, and their futures. Langston Hughes discusses dreams and what they could do in one of his poems, "Harlem." Hughes poem begins: "What

Zora Neale Hurston vs Langston Hughes on the African American Dream

2603 words - 10 pages though both of his grandmother were both owned slaves. And the grandmother that raised him after his parent divorced instilled in him a strong sense of racial pride. She did this through tradition and sharing with him her own experiences. Through living with a former slave and growing up in the 20s in Harlem Hughes became the strong minded and determined pro African American that he was. Hughes loved all Blacks not just the light ones or the more

A Dream Deferred in Langston Hughes' "Harlem"

770 words - 4 pages . Langston Hughes incorporates examples of sound quality, imagery, and figurative language into his short poem “Harlem”, to illustrate how a “dream deferred” essentially begins to disintegrate the moment it is postponed. Hughes incorporates various examples of sound qualities throughout his poem to add emphasis to certain words and lines of the poem. In the opening line of the poem the speaker asks, “What happens to a dream deferred?” (l. 1). The

Expression of the African American Experience Through Poetry During the Harlem Renaissance

1178 words - 5 pages Poetry is something that affects everyone that reads it. If you find the kind that you like then you only tend to read that type, and sometimes that is all a person needs because that certain type of poetry is so connected to them. In the Harlem Renaissance era there were a lot of poets who brought African American voices into the mainstream of American society. This is the type of poetry that really touched people and pushed them to read more

The Role of Female African American Sculptors in the Harlem Renaissance

1708 words - 7 pages opportunity for group and self-expression. The New Negro Arts Movement became popular for a number of reasons: nation-wide popularity of jazz and blues, Harlem’s reputation, and mostly the global appreciation for black culture. "By the 1940’s, the Harlem Renaissance became the perfect metaphor for describing this seemingly rediscovered and reborn black identity through the arts" (Powell, 1998, p. 133). As African American artists flourished in

Similar Essays

Characteristics Of The Harlem Renaissance In The Works Of Langston Hughes, Countee Cullen, And Claude Mc Kay

1516 words - 6 pages the writers involved in the renaissance were poets, Langston Hughes, Countee Cullen, and Claude McKay; in these poets works there are distinctive characteristics of the Harlem Renaissance that are present. The main characteristics that all three writers include in their works is social activism Langston Hughes was a poet in the Harlem Renaissance; he was a communist, this meant that he preached equality; he is also one of the most known poets of

Countee Cullen And The Harlem Renaissance

1113 words - 4 pages Countee Cullen, was one amongst many in a life of accomplishments. He received many awards and was recognized for much of his work. Cullen was a very good writer during his career. Cullen was a major figure in the Harlem Renaissance, a literary movement associated with African American writers in New York City in the 1920's. Though primarily a poet who wrote in standards forms, Cullen also wrote a novel, plays, and children's literature. Countee

Langston Hughes And Harlem Renaissance Essay

2094 words - 9 pages his poetry as a means of exploring different geographical settings in order to show the significance of history, heritage, and identity to the lives of African Americans in a segregated environment. Langston Hughes was one of the most influential writers during the Harlem Renaissance. His poetry echoes the voices of ordinary African Americans and the rhythms of their music. With the use of blues and Jazz, Hughes manages to convey a range of

An African American's Dreams And “Harlem” By Langston Hughes

1255 words - 5 pages “Harlem” by Langston Hughes is a poem that talks about what happens when we postpones our dreams. The poem is made up of a series of similes and it ends with a metaphor. The objective of the poem is to get us to think about what happens to a dream that is put off, postponed; what happens when we create our very own shelve of dreams? The “dream” refers to a goal in life, not the dreams we have while sleeping, but our deepest desires. There are