Langston Hughes Poems Personal Response

This collection of Langston Hughes poems, although I cannot empathize with the people being described, still convey a whole world of meaning. From metaphors to comparisons, the poems are meaningful to me.

Langston Hughes writes about oppression and racism against African American people in the twentieth century. Even though I cannot empathize with these people I still know how horrible racism is and feel terrible for them. One poem in particular “ruby brown” has a heartbreaking metaphor which explains how the character in the poem “Ruby Brown” has no fuel to power the flame of joy in her heart. Literary devices like these are what help made Langston Hughes’ poems so powerful to me when I read them.

Langston Hughes is passionate about what he writes about. His poems are always about the dreams, racial injustice, and most importantly black pride. Many, if not all, African American people have dreams, and social injustice is not letting them achieve these dreams. One of the poems is even an excerpt from a book of poems called “montage of a dream deferred”. This means a dream which is being/has been postponed. When reading the poems I noticed these factors and I felt terrible for these people. They helped me really realize how horrible racism was. I had never really had it described in this way before.

One thing that I do not like about this collection of poetry, or Langston Hughes’ poetry in general is that it is written in free verse. There is no specific rhyme scheme so the poems just sound like him talking and describing things. I wish he would have written with a few more rhymes to make the poem have more of a melody. This would have given me more enjoyment when reading more of the poems.

One more thing that I like about this group of poems is that it is written from different perspectives. I did not know some of the situations that black Americans have been in and these poems helped paint the pictures in my head. Some are written from the perspective and lives of mothers and women. Some are written from the perspective of a man. These poems helped me understand both points of view.

Langston Hughes’ poems, which are are mostly about discrimination, are intertwined with optimism which shows that these people do indeed have dreams to chase and things they enjoy. This gives the poems a happier feel so I was in a better mood while reading them. At the end of one poem in particular, “deferred” from “Montage of a Dream Deferred”, the stanzas become one line each and each stanza is a sentence saying what someone wants. This is a smart addition to the poem as it shows the diversity of of African American people. They all have different wants and needs. One of them even says “I’d like to take up Bach” which was not exactly the norm for African Americans at the time. I knew that African Americans during slave times had these wants and dreams but I had never really thought hard about how they were being deferred until I read this poem, and other poems in the collection.

I usually do not like reading poetry but Langston Hughes shows a lot of passion in his writing, and included details that make the poems more worthwhile and interesting to me.

4 thoughts on “Langston Hughes Poems Personal Response”

  1. I too agree, what an impact Langston Hughes has created on educating us further on the racial injustice African American people endure. I had never imagined it in the ways he describes it.

  2. Hey Alex! While reading your post I have come to agree with most of your points, although I’m not sure if Ruby Brown had the literary device that you mention. I liked the comment you made about Hughes involving racial issues in all of his poems, I completely agree with that since I draw the same conclusion myself.

  3. Hey Alex, while I too agree that Hughes’ poems can be written with more rhythms, I don’t think it is everything that makes a poem great, I still was able to find that although with little rhyming, Hughes still managed to make his works great in its own way.

Leave a Reply