This Is About Langston Hughes. Essay

1116 words - 4 pages

Man's Pleasure and NemesisLangston Hughes is among the most prominent African-American poets during the Harlem Renaissance in the twentieth century. His major works revolved around the status of African-Americans in society. Hughes has written novels, short stories, plays, essays, an autobiography, and criticism, but he is most known for his poetry (Berry, Faith 54). He was only the second African-American to earn a living as an author.In his youth, Hughes' stepfather Homer Clark and mother were constantly on the move because it was so difficult for them to find a job (Dace, Tish 17). Because of his family's instability, he often had to live with his grandmother or other relatives. Hughes' early childhood years were spent in the small town of Lawrence and the capital city Topeka (both of which were in Kansas), Lincoln, Illinois, and the metropolis Cleveland, Ohio. In his high school in Cleveland, he began to write poetry, and his first short stories were published (Trotman, James C. 134).He started to read anything and everything he could find. This initial interest inspired him to write because he had a great desire to influence others just as other writers had influenced him (Bloom, Harold 12). Throughout his life, he witnessed much discrimination against African-Americans. He really wanted to convey his feelings and emotions to others. In many of his poems, Langston Hughes writes about the plight of African-Americans in the early twentieth century (O'Daniel, Therman B 77). He uses nature from different perspectives to show the suffering and troubles of life.In Hughes' poems, he utilizes imagery to demonstrate that nature's beauty and power represent the hardships African-Americans face and their ultimate salvation. Each of the characters in his poems learns how to achieve salvation in their respective societies and within their souls. It is this characteristic of Hughes' poems that brings his characters to life and makes them seem so real (Mandelik, Peter and Stanley Schatt 122). Nature symbolizes each character's personal struggle in life to attain freedom, each of the hurdles in one's path to freedom, and the jubilation one experiences upon gaining freedom.Langston Hughes uses the imagery of rivers to show the character's connection with the world and nature in one of his first and most famous poems. In "The Negro Speaks of Rivers," the speaker says:I've known rivers:I've known rivers ancient as the world and older than the flow of human blood in human veins.My soul has grown deep like the rivers [...]I've known rivers:Ancient, dusky rivers.My soul has grown deep like the rivers. (1-10)The "rivers" known by the speaker in the poem represented life on earth from the beginning of time. By claiming that he has known the "rivers" for so long, he shows that he is as much part of this world as the "rivers" themselves and as much as all other peoples on earth. Furthermore, Hughes uses the rivers as symbols showing the unity of the soul and the...

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