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Hughes Poetry - Book Report/Review Example

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In his essay, "The Negro Artist and the Racial Mountain," Hughes presents his views about writers and poets' loss of racial pride stating that "no great poet has ever been afraid of being himself" (http://www.poemhunter.com/langston-hughes/biography). He continues to declare:
There is an obvious distinction and a distance between the blacks and the whites in the poems of Hughes. For instance, in "The Negro Speaks of Rivers" (Meyer, 2002, p. 912), the persona speaks of his racial pride as part of humanity
This significance to humanity and civilization is also reflected in "Negro" (p. 916). The very title itself is a proud affirmation of the persona's dark skin. Stanzas 2-5 speak of the blacks as slave, worker, singer, and victim. As a slave, the black works for the whites in base positions as cleaner of the steps and boots. These are two terms that imply very low and humbling tasks. As a worker, he tells with pride that great structures and buildings could only be erected because of the blacks. As, a singer, he is allowed to voice out and express his misery. Finally, as a victim, he shows how he is tortured and killed by the whites.
"Danse Africaine" (p. 917) talks of the rhythm of the beating of the tom-toms and the dancing of a veiled girl. This speaks of the African culture. Upon hearing the beat and the rhythm, the true blood of the blacks is stirred (lines 5 and 15). This stirring may speak of an awakening to get into action whether to fight or stand up for some important thing. This stirring may be alarming if the whites stay off-guard. Further, this may imply that too much discrimination may result to revolt.
In "Dream Variations" (p.918), the color black is emphasized. This also speaks of the persona's dream which is to
To fling my arms wide
In the face of the sun,
Dance! Whirl! Whirl!
Till the quick day is done! (Lines 11-14).

These lines imply being able to freely express one's self in the open ("In the face of the sun"). This further illustrates how the blacks are hidden in the dark or are marginalized. Moreover, there is a positive description of the blacks in the following lines:
Rest at pale evening
A tall, slim tree
Night coming tenderly
Black like me (lines 15-18).

These lines imply that the night is tender and relative to rest. In other words, this contradicts the whites' notion of the blacks to be unruly and harmful or ...Show more

Summary

Just as literature is said to be a reflection of life, particularly of man's thoughts and feelings, James Langston Hughes' poetry reveals the way he perceives the relations between blacks and whites in the United States of America.
Hughes is born in Joplin, Missouri…
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Hughes Poetry essay example
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