Langston Hughes personal response

Langston Hughes was a star poet as well as an activist during the 19th century. His poems were inspired by Walt Whitman and were free verse which was unusual for the times. Langston Hughes was also known as being inspired by the blues and wrote on behalf of the African American community in the USA. His writing took on a more ecologically valid point of view later on as he started vouching for all repressed people.

Harlem Sweeties is an example of Hughes’s writing, which comes to life and moves people to think a certain way. The poem Harlem Sweeties caused people around the world but mainly in America to adapt their beauty standard and instead find beauty in women of color as well as in white women during the mid-19th century. “Pale, almost translucent skin, rosy cheeks, crimson lips, white teeth, and sparkling eyes.” As said by Jessica Cale when describing the beauty standard of the 19th century. Harlem Sweeties triggers people’s beauty standards to change and accept a broader beauty. Harlem Sweeties makes use of imagery in the sense that it describes people as candy and dessert, “Brown sugar lassie, Caramel treat, Honey-gold baby”. (Line 5-7). The sweetness of these types of foods figures as the beauty of the woman that Hughes sees in Harlem.

Goodbye Christ is one of Hughes’s more popular poems which brings out his personal opinions never seen. The mood of Goodbye Christ is angry and sad, it is like he is losing hope in the future of the world and becoming depressed. “Marx Communist Lenin Peasant Stalin Worker ME–”. (Line 24). His view in politics is announced. During this time many intellectuals saw hope in Communism and the public did not know of the many millions that had died at Stalin’s hands. To them, Communism was an ideal society in which property is publicly owned and everyone works and is paid due to their ability and needs. Today we see that the ideal world of Communism is nearly impossible, and that is why people no longer strive for it in the United States of America.

I enjoyed reading Langston Hughes’s poems because of his use of imagery and the lack of structure. The lack of structure made the poems more entertaining to read and kept me interested. Langston Hughes wrote in order to promote equality and fight against repression. This made me more interested in his writing, and is another reason why these poems became so famous.





Works cited

Drop dead gorgeous: 19th century beauty tips for the aspiring consumptive. Dirty, Sexy History. (2018, December 5). Retrieved January 31, 2022, from

Selected Poems by Langston Hughes:IB English A Literature Mr. Macknight.

7 thoughts on “Langston Hughes personal response”

  1. Hello Adam, Great job on analyzing the poems, I agree with Hughes poems coming to life. That was a great view of his work. Keep it up!

  2. Very informative, I would’ve liked if you included more of your personal opinion and less of “the google’s”. Overall good work. 🙂

  3. Hey Adam. I also think that his poems are moving, it is a way that he express to really tell what was happening with a specific language that brings us back through time. I would have like to know more about your personal opinion with Langstong Hughes’ deep meanings and the feelings it conveys.

  4. Hi Adam, Harlem Sweeties definitely brings up a lot of the beauty in black women because it is great to see how they are appreciated

  5. Nice response Adam! I like how you used the psychology term ecologically valid to talk about Langston Hughes’ writing. Do you have any examples of how the poems were moving or meaningful for you?

  6. Adam i like how you used many examples and went into some detail of what influence Langston. You clearly stated your point and used evidence to back it up.

  7. Hi Adam, I like how you mentioned how Harlem Sweeties went against the view at the time that a pale, rosy cheeked white woman was the “golden standard” for beauty. It is an interesting poem and can be viewed in multiple ways, some positive and some negative. Good response.

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