Book Report/Review
Pages 5 (1255 words)
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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.


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" ( 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. ...
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