Langston Hughes is known as one of the most influential African American poets. He has a large collection of works that still influence African American society today. Hughes contributed towards the Harlem Renaissance, which produced a surge of African American works in the 1920s. In addition, Langston Hughes is also known as one of the most inspiring African American civil rights activists and advocated for African American unity and solidarity. One of his most famous works is “Negro,” which is a poem that highlights African American identity through the personification of African American heritage. The narrator is the personified figure that connects African Americans by explaining historical allusions that contributed to African American heritage and culture. This personified narrator enhances the theme of unified heritage among African Americans in the poem “Negro” with the use of structure, historical parallels, and historical context.
At some point in our lives, most of us have judged a book by its cover. In other words, we have held prejudice against each other based on our outward appearances, but rarely considered what lies beneath the surface. In Langston Hughes’ 1959 poem “Theme for English B”, a professor assigns a speaker, a young African-American male college student, a one-page composition in which the student can write about a topic of their choosing. The speaker chooses to write about how, despite being African-American in a mostly white class, he is simply human just like everyone else. The craft of “Theme for English B”, including the sound, rhythm, tone, form, and figurative language of the poem, demonstrate the writer’s message that despite our differences,
Masks hide the truth and obscure the facts. They form a barrier between what is real and what is an illusion. Yet, during from the moment blacks were brought to this continent in chains, to the moment they were granted civil rights in the 1960’s, masks were a method of survival. Another way of life for African Americans was the practice of signifying. Signifying is mostly seen in the black literary tradition as a means for African Americans to take back power from the white through misinformation and deception. In Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man, masking, and signifying serve as methods of survival for the narrator, as well as ways for malicious outsiders to take advantage of the narrator.
In the book “The Souls of Black Folk”, Du Bois uses essays to vividly explain the upbringing of the Negroes livelihood before and after the Emancipation Proclamation, the slow rise of personal leadership, and lastly the two worlds within and without the veil and how it has become a problem of training men for life. In the forethought, Du Bois introduces the image of the veil and shows the importance of that single statement, which holds a strong meaning throughout the entire book. In this essay, I will identify the author’s true purpose in the meaning and reference of “the veil” as well as “double consciousness”.
Historically countries, such as America, have muted and failed to addressed the social injustices against minority groups. Although America is considered to be the “melting pot,” it continues to face issues regarding freedom and justice for all of its citizens. Langston Hughes, who was a writer and social activist, wrote poetry during the Harlem Renaissance which addressed the social issues facing African Americans and minority groups. Allusion, anaphora, and rhyme scheme are employed by Hughes in his poem, “Let America Be America Again” in order to show how false America’s claims of equality and “Justice for all” are.
As I read, Paul L. Dunbar’s “We Wear the Mask” I was interested in how he described what a mask represents. It is true that a mask was used to hide a person’s pain, emotion, or mood before the day known as Halloween developed. I love how Paul refers the use of the masks as a black or white person’s escape from other peoples’ worried faces. No one can ever understand what someone else is going through. People can never truly speak their truth or let out their suffering. Paul being one of few African Americans to speak his truths on the events he witnessed wrote this poem to show that no one should hide their thoughts or opinions behind a fake face or facial expression. The poem is like a fake speech on how the masks cannot shade your struggle.
It cannot be doubted that Langston Hughes is not just one of the most illustrious Black Writers but also one who had a very strong contribution to the early struggles of the Black Americans against discrimination and segregation in the country. Hughes exceptionally combined the power of his art and his political voice in advancing his stand to the pressing issues of his day, most notable of which was the assertion of the rights of Black Americans and of their stature in the economic, political and cultural spheres of society. This movement was then tagged as the Harlem Renaissance movement owing to the fact that it gained steam in Harlem, New York.
“When Malindy Sings” and “We Wear the Mask” are two popular poems written by Dunbar. Each touch on difficulties he and other African Americans face every day. However, “When Malindy Sings” is written in dialect, while “We Wear the Mask” is not. When looking at each poem, “We Wear the Mask” has to hide the true meaning of the poem beneath beautiful word play and descriptive word play. This important to note because only the African American community would understand the true underlying message of false contentment. Then when we look at “When Malindy Sings” the message is much clearer. Because it is written in dialect, Dunbar is able to write jokes and insults that would otherwise get him arrested, maybe even killed, during the time. The poem emphasizes how exceptionally better a possible slave, Malindy, is at singing compared to her owner, Miss Lucy, even though Malindy was an untrained field slave and Miss Lucy practiced her singing off a
In Paul Laurence Dunbar’s poem, “We Wear the Mask” the speaker wears a mask to hide his internal suffering because he does not want the rest of the world to think he is weak. This poem relates the prejudice black people face against white people. The speaker starts the poem with the lines, “We wear the mask that grins and lies,” (1). Here he describes the kind of “masks” that he wears. “Grins and lies,” refers to how the mask functions, the mask smiles, showing happiness even when it is a fake and a lie. While describing how it feels to wear the mask, the speaker says, “With torn and bleeding hearts we smile” (4). He says this to show that on the inside they are suffering greatly, but they disguise themselves as smiling to show that nothing is wrong. This shows how the author feels while wearing his “mask,” and demonstrates to the reader how the speaker feels it is necessary to put up
Langston Hughes was first recognized as an important literary figure during the 1920s, a period known as the "Harlem Renaissance" because of the number of emerging black writers. Du Bose Heyward wrote in the New York Herald Tribune in 1926: "Langston Hughes, although only twenty-four years old, is already conspicuous in the group of Negro intellectuals who are dignifying Harlem with a genuine art life. . . . It is, however, as an individual poet, not as a member of a new and interesting literary group, or as a spokesman for a race that Langston Hughes must stand or fall. . . . Always intensely subjective, passionate, keenly sensitive to beauty and possessed of an unfaltering musical sense, Langston Hughes has given us a 'first book ' that
The poem I chose to analyze is We Wear the Mask, written by Paul Lawrence Dunbar in 1896. Its theme is about hiding our true feelings and emotions, and lying about who we are. When looking at Dunbar’s life history, and the political context at the time, we understand that he efficiently uses this theme in order to talk about how black people have to hide how they feel about their social status and the treatment they receive from white people. He conveys the theme to the audience thanks to a clever word choice. Indeed, he talks about “grin” and “smile”, using facial expressions as a description of the mask (Dunbar, lines 1 & 4). We realize he’s talking about the mask, and not the real emotions of the person, thanks to a contrast between negative
James Weldon Johnson’s excerpt argued that African Americans during the Harlem Renaissance were establishing themselves as active and important forces in society whom were also accomplishing great artistic achievements. Langston Hughes, a leading African American poet of the Harlem Renaissance, wrote literature about the pain and pride
Langston Hughes was an important and well-known figure in the Harlem Renaissance, which occurred in the 1920s and 1930s. Hughes’ main influences were Paul Laurence Dunbar, Walt Whitman, and Carl Sandburg, all of whom wrote about the lives of African-Americans in the 1960s. Langston Hughes’ works mainly use uplifting words to empower minorities because of their mistreatment in America.
Paul Laurence Dunbar, one of the first African-American poets to receive widespread recognition from both the Caucasian and African-American communities released many pieces of literature expressing his feelings throughout his life during the Reconstruction era. Two of these pieces, “We Wear the Mask” and “Sympathy” were short poems that veered from his regular dialectic pieces, aimed at aiding in Reconstruction, and held hidden rebellions against the mistreatment of African-Americans at the time the passages were released. The African-American and Ethnic Literary Studies critical approach is a tool used while critiquing pieces of literature that hold common themes or elements tracing back to slavery and segregation in early America. This approach
He is burdened by sadness and pain, thus leading to the word “weary” in the title. Many also assume that Hughes may have derived the title of the poem from “Weary Blues”, a song released in 1915 by African-American songwriter, pianist, and ragtime composer Artie Matthews (Shmoop). “The Weary Blues” is one of Hughes’ most recognized poems to date, and has drawn rapturous praise from innumerable critics and readers throughout the world. My thesis is that “The Weary Blues” is a noteworthy poem due to the establishment of a relaxed, yet depressing mood through the accurate portrayal of a certain blues