He wanted to tell the stories of his people in ways that reflected their actual culture, including both their suffering and their love of music, laughter, and language itself. In Hughes 's poetry, he uses the rhythms of African American music, particularly blues and jazz. This sets his poetry apart from that of other writers, and it allowed him to experiment with a very rhythmic free verse. Hughes 's second volume of poetry, Fine Clothes to the Jew (1927), was not received well at that time of its publication because it was too experimental. However, many critics believe the volume to be among Hughes 's greatest
Even though African Americans were free to travel after the emancipation of slavery, it was more likely for an African American male to travel than an African American female. Rainey directly challenged this norm through the content of her songs and influenced the African American females in her audience to do the same. In an interview about the audience reactions of her song “Traveling Blues” Rainey expressed, “Then I sing. You could just see them jigs wanting to go some place else” (Davis 74). This line exposes the longing to travel that some African American females in Rainey’s audience felt, but might have not acted on because it was not viewed as acceptable.
Toomer experienced many conflicts, internally and externally, which he processed in his writings, poetry became another channel for his thoughts. Kenneth Rexroth, a painter and poet labeled as a radical through association, hailed Toomer as the most important African American poet. Toomer’s poems were written almost like a dance, often beginning and closing with a similar stanza. His poetry gives a surreal feeling in each line, but they often describe some brutally honest events that many people will experience in their lifetime. In example, Toomer’s poem, “Her Lips Are Copper Wire” describes a rebellion against being silenced, “then with your tongue remove the tape/and press your lips to mine/till they are incandescent” followed by a tale of bright passion (PoemHunter V5).
The ghettos were filled of African-American culture which is what started the Harlem Renaissance. Blacks created their own form of music, literature, and art. From Jazz to Blues to traditional music, literature and poetry, their racial pride challenged racism. White folk loved their style of music and were performed for in clubs. Poets wrote about experiences they’ve had in in their lives.
Everything from his music and clothes that he gave to Beneatha to his attitude towards American black culture suggests that he disapproves of the new black culture he is engulfed in. Asagai also wants to share his culture and try to convert other assimilated blacks like Beneatha to support his traditional Nigerian culture. This is very controversial, especially since Nigerian culture is commonly thought to be constructed on living in “grass huts”. Like the Youngers, Asagai is fighting against the common black culture of Chicago and wishes for more blacks to embrace what he sees as the true culture of the blacks. The only person who really wants to embrace the black culture that Asagai professes is Beneatha and even she has misconceptions of what Nigerian culture truly is.
Throughout much of his poetry, Langston Hughes wrestles with complex notations of African American dreams, racism, and discrimination during the Harlem Renaissance. Through various poems, Hughes uses rhetorical devices to state his point of view. He tends to use metaphors, similes, imagery, and connotation abundantly to illustrate in what he strongly believes. Discrimination and racism were very popular during the time when Langston Hughes began to develop and publish his poems, so therefore his poems are mostly based on racism and discrimination, and the desire of an African American to live the American dream. Langston Hughes poems served as a voice for all African Americans greatly throughout his living life, and even after his death.
Paul Laurence Dunbar's poem, "We Wear the Mask," delivers a poignant message in fifteen brief lines. On one hand, the poem pays tribute to the historical struggles of African-Americans. Specifically, Dunbar explores the thought that many African-Americans disguised their true feelings during the racially tumultuous period between the end of the Civil War and the beginning of the Civil Rights Movement. His moving words suggest that the African-American community of this time often wore "the mask that grins and lies" to avoid drawing unwanted attention to themselves. On the other hand, the words in Dunbar's poem apply not just to the struggles of the African-American population.
The modern African American, according to Hughes, feels the discrimination and hate against themselves just as their ancestors did, how they are ‘lynched still’ in the United States, which further connects past Africans to present African Americans (16). In addition to connecting the modern African American to their ancestors, this idea of unity among other modern African Americans can be felt with the commiseration due to the universal suffering from discrimination. Hughes wrote this poem in the 1920s, which, while a time of postwar celebration, still contained heavy racial tension and discrimination against African Americans. By contributing to the Harlem Renaissance and resisting the racial prejudice in this era of segregation, Hughes’ narrator in “Negro” also unifies isolated and downtrodden African Americans of the 1920s, and many African Americans today, through a universal pain felt in African Americans. The historical context and personification combined also emphasize the unity between African Americans of the 1920s through a universal understanding of pain and
This style has been around since the 1950’s and is still used today. This writing style is when authors use tragic events for stories, for example war. These two period of writing styles have importance to American culture, but talk about different To begin with The Harlem Renaissance poems main points the author tries to get across are about African - American culture. The authors try to tell the readers how they were treated, how they feel in society, and what they do, “I, too sing America. I am the darken brother.” (Hughes).
Langston Hughes and Maya Angelou were African Americans alive during the period in American history when minority groups were fighting hard for their rights and respect among the country. These two authors used their writing skill to shed light on how African Americans felt throughout this period of time, opening many people’s eyes to how the oppressed truly felt. The civil rights movement could have had an entirely different outcome if it weren’t outspoken individuals such as these two. In Hughes’s well known poem “I, Too,” Hughes talks about how the people that mistreat him will soon regret everything they’ve done and will realize the true potential of him and everyone like him. This viewpoint is very confident for the future and seems to allude to Hughes knowing that one day African Americans will be seen as equal to everyone else.