An Insight on “As I Grew Older” by Langston Hughes (edited)

An insight on “As I Grew Older” by Langston Hughes

“As I Grew Older” is a poem which criticizes the oppression of black people in America. Not only does this poem discuss a insightful topic, but it conveys the message through a meaningful metaphor. A wall is commonly used to divide, to separate and to block out certain things. Within the poem, it is mentioned repetitively that a wall is slowly ascending, dividing its victim from their dreams, the light. Langston describes that he had almost forgotten his dream in the first stanza, in the beginning, meaning that he knew of it’s presence and he remembers his dream. Perhaps he was younger back then, where he had little to on perspective on the oppression in which his race had suffered within America during the time “But it was there, In front of me.” . As Langston had grew older, so did the wall, he began realizing the wall had been rising slowly, “Rose slowly, Slowly, Between me and my dream.” The oppression and racism towards lack people had become an obstacle for Langston, something which locks the view of his bright, bright dream, his future. The wall “Rose until it touched the sky”, signifying that it was almost impossible to get over it, that there was no way he could reach or see his dream anymore, his opportunities, his dream. It is then written in the poem “Shadow. I am black.” Perhaps this stanza would describe how Langston felt, realizing and thinking that he belongs in the shadow, belongs in the dark and he lies down, accepting the fact that he is dark, accepting the oppression and the racism. Suddenly, Langston turns the atmosphere of the poem 180 degrees, he has the desire for change, he reads free of the oppression and racism, fighting and breaking through the impossible. Langston hopes to chase his dream no matter the oppression, no matter the obstacles, the challenges. He is no longer blinded by the ones who oppress him.


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