The American Reality In Let America Be America Again: A Poem By Langston Hughes Honors English Essay

4123 words - 17 pages

The American dream is defined as: The ability for any one from around the world to set foot in America, work hard, and reach their goals. Yet, is the American Dream really “The American Dream” for everyone? Is it true that every culture that has set foot on American soil has experienced a rush of opportunities, accomplished what they wanted, and were treated equally? The answer is no: every race and culture that has come to America with hopes and dreams has come across a different reality. A reality that is a lot harder to swallow in comparison to the extremely digestible ‘American dream’ concept. The native American and African American cultures are still experiencing the repercussion of a history rooted in racism and greed. That is just a fraction of the whole story and It is not until all those stories are stitched together that we can see America for what it is: rough and inconsistent. For Langston Hughes and the African American population, the dream has looked much like a nightmare. They have been enslaved, humiliated and even up until Hughes died in 1967 the African American population was still fighting for their rights and without a doubt: they still are (Kelley). Hughes African American identity and activist background led him to become one of the most influential authors of the Harlem Renaissance. Hughes as an African American knew that this idea of the ‘American dream’ was in many ways flawed and during the great depression wrote a poem titled, Let America be America Again. This poem acted as a chant that called upon the American people who have been let down, forgotten and pushed aside to take the American dream into their own hands and make America live up to its own promises. Langston’s Hughes journey as an African American and his ties with the Harlem renaissance has given him the tools to write a poem that details the suffering and frustration of not just himself, but of all who have been let down by the false promises of equality and riches - Let America be America Again is a poem that allows readers to think of America in a critical way and sets the bar for what America should be striving for. It is a poem that is timeless and should be revisited by this current generation.
Many events in Langston Hughes life allowed him to develop the perspectives that he demonstrates in Let America be America Again. According to The Poetry Foundation, Hughes was born on February 1st, 1902, in Joplin Missouri (Langston Hughes). According to Bloom, Hughes was raised by his grandmother, Mary Langston, who was strong willed and an activist for African American rights. She raised Hughes on an ideology that rejected the generic and highly exclusive American Dream. Bloom states that Mary’s first husband “was killed, fighting by John Brown’s side, at Harper’s Ferry in 1859, while her second – Langston Hughes’s grandfather – helped organize the black regiments in the Union Army”. This shows that Hughes life was centered around a family history...

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