African American Culture In Langston Hughes And We Wear The Mask

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The Harlem Renaissance was a period in American history, which occurred in the 1920s in Harlem, New York. The cultural movement was an opportunity for African Americans to celebrate their heritage through intellectual and artistic works. Langston Hughes, a famous poet, was a product of the Harlem Renaissance. One notable piece of literature by Hughes is “Dream Deferred”. However, the discussion of African American culture isn’t limited to the 1920s. Paul Laurence Dunbar showed the potential struggles of being African American in his poem “We Wear the Mask”, written fifty-five years prior to “Dream Deferred”. Both poems share similar tones and themes. “Dream Deferred” by Langston Hughes can serve as a sequel to “We Wear the Mask” by Paul Laurence Dunbar through displaying a cause and effect relationship which highlights the strength of neglect and disguises. …show more content…

Similarly, Hughes uses grotesque imagery to emphasize the decay of a forgotten idea. However, said forgotten idea can be interpreted as more than a concept when the time period is taken into account. Through analysis, it’s possible to construe Hughes’s dream as a person or society. In the line “Or fester like a sore-- And then run?” (Hughes 4), imagery is used to conjure the picture of a blister on human skin. Such personification mirrors Dunbar’s use of figurative language, which relates the poems in more ways than one. Dunbar touches on human features such as cheeks and eyes in his poem but also uses a spiritual element to advance his point of view. Furthermore, “We Wear the Mask” was written in 1896; a period in American history that was post-slavery but still had widespread discrimination. The spiritual connotation within Dunbar’s poem can allude to African American churches and/or the hymns slaves sung on plantations. Nevertheless, the struggle of African Americans is a symbol of both presented

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