“Langston Hughes And His Poetry” Essay

1477 words - 6 pages

Throughout African American history different individuals have made a significant impact that would forever change music, art, and literature. In the 1900s Harlem became the governing body for the birth of jazz and blues. This also open doors for a new era called the Harlem Renaissance. During this time a poet name Langston Hughes was introduced. Langston Hughes created poetry that grab the attention of all kinds of people. It had that jazzy vibe mixed with articulate language of choice. He could seize the minds of people with the soulfulness of his writing, and depict the struggles that African Americans were facing at the time. Some individuals see Langston Hughes as the inspired poet of the Harlem Renaissance period. Mr. Hughes used his body of work to compare and contrast things to create the groundwork for the Harlem Renaissance period.
His poems established him as a well known poet in Harlem. In two of his poems one titled “Mother to Son” and the other “Harlem” comparison and contrast are evident in both of them. The poem “Mother to Son” is more of a free lyric flowing poem. In this poem Langston Hughes gets the message across in a powerful attack. The poem is narrated from a mother’s viewpoint and the wisdom she gives her son as read in the following lines:
Son boy, don’t you turn back
Don’t you set down on the steps
’Cause you finds it’s kinder hard
Don’t you fall now—
For I’se still goin’, honey,
I’se still climbin’,
And life for me ain’t been no crystal stair. [14-20]
These lines express the frustrations of a mother who went through a hard time, and is telling her son her story. She is telling her son, “This is the adversity I went through to become who I am today in spirit.” The tone is very edgy and firm when she tells her son, “So boy, don’t you turn back” (Hughes 1292). Also, Langston Hughes created a dialect vocabulary when the mother is sitting down and responding to her child. For instance, if you look at lines one and two:
Well, son, I’ll tell you:
Life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.
“The son, as we can surmise from the first line, has either asked his mother a question or complaint of his frustrations, to which his mother responds, “ Well , son, I’ll tell you” ( Wasley).
In this poem Langston Hughes uses two elements of poetry which were symbols and imagery. One symbol that he used was the stairs. The stairs symbolize the journey and the steps it took the mother to get where she was. Also, the stairs represented the struggles she had to face every day in life. The stairs show the level she was at during her years of living. “Never back down from a challenge just because it seems difficult. Don’t stop striving for something you’ve already began. If you can start it, you can finish it” (Anti Essays).
Some of the feelings and emotions of Langston Hughes made their way over into his other works that he did. His poem entitled “Harlem”...

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