Selected Poems by Langston Hughes

After reading the Selected Poems by Langston Hughes, the author made me look at how he is teaching about the racial segregation of black people that was happening in his time in America by raising his voice through poetry. It is important to know historical background as their meanings are specific and it has identification with history and the struggle of discrimination in those days. His poems are free verse that uses an informal speech that Langston Hughes combined, the language of jazz and the language that black people used at that time to clearly convey a message that evokes a feeling. He creates the feeling of empathy by using certain words that describe things that everyone has had like a mother, difficult times, a dream, the excitement of been a child in a candy store, etc. He also uses the word “I” and gives a different meaning to oneself like Whitman. Langston Hughes uses the word “I” to refer to the whole black community including himself.

I identified three main points that Langston Hughes uses, dreams, hope, and being fed up, not only to make clearer their suffering, but also to tell us about freedom. First, with dreams, dreams that are difficult to fulfill because of racism been an obstacle and dreams been deferred. He communicates the stereotypes of black people from the side of white people and compares it with how the life of black people really was, the injustice and their life being hard because they can’t get what they want, making them forget their dreams. Second, hope, giving positive messages to unite black people and to appreciate black people. Telling them that their dreams can come true, they need to stay together, hold on as there is always something good and it can be possible despite the suffering. However, as the poems explain their suffering, dreams and give people hope, there is a point where Langston Hughes shows his feeling of being fed up. Not only communicating to stay together, but also to speak up and end the suffering because what was happening was wrong. He shows how people were tired, sad and hopeless. To stop letting white people to oppress them and to really show what was happening. The three main points shows that the suffering passes through generations and he makes clear the word “freedom”. When he refers to the word freedom, he is not referring only to give freedom to black people but also, he expresses that freedom is for everybody, expanding to more societies and how it is what it will save us all.

7 thoughts on “Selected Poems by Langston Hughes”

  1. Good job Marcela! I like how you identified the three main points in his poems, but do you have specific examples of poems where he uses these?

  2. Marcela good job!! I really enjoyed reading your response and I especially liked the way you identified three main major points that Langston Hughes uses, dreams, hope, and being fed up. You also used evidence and reasoning for your main points which was effective!

  3. Nice PR Marcela! Langston Hughes’ poems created a feeling of empathy for me as well. What are some examples of how Langston Hughes created empathy for you?

  4. Great job Marcela. I really liked how you described how the black community suffered because you explain it in detail and it is clear that it gave you a new perspective on the subjec.

  5. Well done Marcela, I enjoyed reading your personal response and thought it depicted your thoughts clearly. I also liked how you identified Hughes’ three main points in his writing. Are there any direct quotes or examples ?

  6. Hi Marcela, I really like your point about hope existing in Hughes’ work, it definitely proves that Hughes care a lot about his people and the freedom for the black community

  7. Good job Marcela, you made a good point in the first paragraph where you mentioned that he was teaching people about the racial segregation that existed in the 19th century. You made references to what he said/wrote but did you have any specific quotes that were taken from the poems?

    Great job!

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