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Pushing Through Tough Times Essay

1506 words - 7 pages

When analyzing the poem, “Life is Fine” by Langston Hughes, at first glance it may seem like a short and simple poem about life. The poem is much more complex. The poem is about the obstacles that some people face in life and how to find the strength to persevere. This poem helps the reader appreciate life and encourages us to triumph over the most emotionally challenging obstacles rather than considering death as a solution. The character in the poem, although weak and confused at first, finds the strength to deal with the issues he is struggling with and comes to appreciate life, rather than turning to a tragic way out. The character makes a half-hearted attempt to take his life ...view middle of the document...

Learning to overcome obstacles and have a positive outlook on life is a valuable skill. Life is not easy, and knowing how to cope with everyday problems is very important for our health and well-being. Hughes’ poem portrays this concept by showing one person’s struggles with a lost love and how they persevered. Like the character in the poem, Hughes persevered in his life and this is visible in his poems and other works. The poem, “Life is Fine” by Langston Hughes embodies emotional and social value while using tone and repetition to portray its message of perseverance.
First, the poem includes emotional as well as social value because it focuses on the topic of suicide, which is a serious issue that is difficult to talk about. In “Life is Fine” the character tries to commit suicide multiple times, but he always finds a reason not to do so. Perhaps the character finds reasons not to take his life because he realizes that taking his life won’t solve anything for himself or for those who care about him. In the process of finding reasons not to take his life, the character is coping with issues and using his inner strength to help him preserve. One example from the poem is “So I jumped in and sank. If that water hadn’t a-been so cold. I might’ve sunk and died.” Another example is when the character is sixteen floors high and says, “And thought I would jump down. If it hadn’t a-been so high. I might’ve jumped and died.” In both examples the tone starts out sad, but then, the character finds some inner strength to find a reason not to commit suicide. The tone changes from sad to hopeful. The message in this poem is of social value because it focuses on how the character makes the decision to live. Hughes experienced numerous challenges in his life that most people don’t experience, yet he stayed strong and persevered. Like the character in the poem, Hughes could have easily given up, but instead, he found inner strength to cope with the obstacles in his life. In Hughes ‘autobiography, he wrote “Prejudiced I certainly am by my twisted life; by the way in which I have been treated by my fellows, by what I myself have thought and done” (Miller). Hughes’ negative life experiences are the reason he writes poems about the obstacles faced in life. Hughes’ poems (especially this one) are all derived from the life he knows and lived (Hubbard). Hughes had a tough life. He didn’t see his father from the time he was a small kid, until he was seventeen. When Hughes was seventeen years old, he went to Mexico to see his father, but his father was a cold man who treated his employees so bad that after Hughes saw this it made him so sick, he went to the hospital (I, Too, Sing America: The Story Of Langston Hughes). Suicide is very scary and Hughes writes about it in his poem, “Life is Fine”, to help others who are considering suicide to see that it is not a sensible decision. For anyone living a difficult life that is considering...

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