Langston Hughes

by MrsLip
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Language Arts

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Langston Hughes

Langston HughesPoet - Author Playwright

Citations:Shmoop Editorial Team. (2008, November 11). Langston Hughes. Retrieved February 18, 2015 from Hughes. (2015). The website. Retrieved 06:16, Feb 18, 2015, from

A Dream DeferredBY LANGSTON HUGHESWhat happens to a dream deferred? Does it dry up like a raisin in the sun? Or fester like a sore— And then run Does it stink like rotten meat? Or crust and sugar over- like a syrupy sweet? Maybe it just sags like a heavy load.

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Poetic StyleLangston Hughes can not be narrowed down to one type of poetry. His poetic style reflects his topics - the need and time for change, the struggles and obstacles African Americans faced, and are even reflective of the jazz and blues music that became widely known during the Harlem Renaissance. Hughes' poems range from free verse, to repetition, to rhyme, with each poem taking on a life of its own as it tells the stories of every day people.

James Mercer Langston HughesBorn in Joplin, Missouri in 1902, Langston Hughes went on to have a less than perfect childhood in a country where race relations were turbulent and life for the average African American bore challenges to face and overcome. While his trials and tribulations were not easy, Hughes went on to use his experiences - both the human and the uniquely African American one - to become a champion of African American culture and the working man. He was a poet for the "every" man - not the critics, not the elitists and certainly not other writers. His poetry speaks of the heartache and challenges faced by African Americans and stretches beyond those boundaries to address ideas that challenge people of all races, color, and gender. In poems like "A Dream Deferred" and "Mother to Son," he reaches out to his reader and explores common themes and fears that all people face. In other poems, such as "I, Too, America" and "The Negro Speaks of Rivers," Hughes speaks directly to the plight of the African American population in 1920's and 1930's. During this time, Hughes became actively involved in the art, music, and literature movement happening in Harlem, New York, which became known as the Harlem Renaissance. This explosion of art brought Hughes to the forefront of his genre and provided him with a love of jazz and blues music that would eventually be reflected in his writing. As he continued to grow and change as a writer, Hughes focused heavily on the plight of the working man, the rampant racism that existed in the Land of the Free and other urban themes and conditions. He would live in Harlem until his death in 1967.While he is remembered as a prolific poet, Hughes was also a successful author of books, a newspaper columnist, and a playwright. A jack of all literary trades - Langston Hughes left a lasting mark on literature for all time.

We younger Negro artists who create now intend to express our individual dark-skinned selves without fear or shame. If white people are pleased, we are glad. If they are not, it doesn't matter. We know we are beautiful. And ugly too. The tom-tom cries and the tom-tom laughs. If colored people are pleased, we are glad. If they are not, it doesn't matter either. We build our temples for tomorrow, strong as we know how, and we stand on top of the mountain, free within ourselves-Langston Hughes

Other Poems byLangston Hughes"Mother to Son""A Negro Speaks of Rivers""April Rain ""Let America Be America Again""As I Grew Older""Democracy""Life is Fine""Dreams"

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