Langston Hughes And Tennessee Williams: Defining Art

1657 words - 7 pages

Introduction
Since ancient times, the word artist has acquired different connotations. It has been quite an inquiry to define it, and even with the most meticulous meanings, the word still has kept its mysterious singularity to define the whole purpose of a man. Being an artist is more than just a philosophy, and the concept belongs to a vast range of abilities of self expression. It has been said, that one of the most common abilities is that of being able to reinterpret experiences, societal pressures, adversities during childhood, successes and failures, and translate them into a creative form attractive to others (Nguyen, 2011). This specific ability is directly associated with the uniqueness the artist will start to develop during his career, and also constitute an important part in their formation as a person as they will be able to open and expose themselves into the fierce criticism or affable acceptance of the rest of the world.
Two distinctive artists that have been characterized by their geniality and endowment of expressing their beliefs against the rules of morality and concealment of the puritan society are Langston Hughes and Tennessee Williams. Hughes, born in February 1, 1902 in Joplin, Missouri, was among the most principal and controversial writers in segregated America. As a child, he struggle with the separation of his parents, marked by constant moving and crisscrossing between the two. However, as the great artist he is, he took the difficult circumstances he lived and the cruelty he experienced during his life and transformed it into the source for his ingenuity. In addition, the historical context in which the artist grew up was filled with economic tribulations, segregation against black, war, and increasingly social tension. Nevertheless, he dared to challenge the traditional and write about the injustice the country he believed in was perpetuating. In the early part of the 1920’s, he moved to Harlem along with a growing number of young African American writers, dancers, musicians, and artists that formed what is now know as the Harlem Renaissance (Flick, 2003). One of his greatest achievements was to become a member and key figure in such movement defined as a blossoming of African American culture, particularly in the creative arts, and the most influential movement in African American literary history. Likewise, Tennessee Williams, one of the greatest playwrights in American history, managed to open a place in a decorous and idealistic America, to express through his work his so chaotic reality. Being diagnosed with diphtheria as child, Williams had to find a way of finding himself useful. An Anonymous critic once wrote: "He spent most of his time closing his eyes. He could see wonderful, magnificent scenes in his mind." (Oracle Education Foundation, 2002). His sexual preferences, made him struggle with the acceptance of his father, whose attitude towards him was always derogatory. On top of that, his sister...

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