Analysis Of Dinner Guest: Me, By Langston Hughes

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The ballot or the bullet is the most influential speech given by the most influential speaker of the 20th century. Delivered in Cleveland on April 3rd, 1964 by Malcolm X, it marked a changing point in his life. 26 days earlier, on March 8th, he had publicly confirmed his disbanding from the Nation of Islam. Recognizing the power that the movement held, and the audience he was speaking to, X decided that rather than turn a blind eye to Elijah Muhammad’s followers, he directs the speech towards them. His introduction to the speech reads, “Mr. Moderator, Brother Lomax, brothers and sisters, friends and enemies…”. This addresses the target audience as the members of the NOI, given the events leading up to the speech, there’s evidence to support…show more content…
He reads, “I 'm not going to sit at your table and watch you eat, with nothing on my plate, and call myself a diner. Sitting at the table doesn 't make you a diner, unless you eat some of what 's on that plate.” Here X commands symbolism, imagery, and allusion. The comparison is an allusion to a famous Langston Hughes poem titled, “Dinner Guest: Me”. In the poem, Hughes describes his experiences of being at a dinner with white people like being probed. However Hughes describes the lobster as “delicious”, the wine as“divine”. This is in complete contrast to X’s symbolic dinner “with nothing on [his] plate”. This describes two sides of an argument, over liberal racism. Langston Hughes recalls a scene that is extremely discomforting in the fact that he is a guest at a dinner party, but at the very least, he is being consoled. This is the more ethical argument. However, Malcolm X argues the logical side of the story, which is that liberal racism is still racism. He argues that there is no good that can come from any form of racism, and because of the color of his skin, he is being treated

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