Langston Hughes Landlord

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Analysis of a Poem: “Ballad of the Landlord” by Langston Hughes “Ballad of the Landlord,” by Langston Hughes is a poem about a negro man who will not pay his $10 rent, a $138 value today, until his home is in satisfactory condition. In turn, the landlord could evict him or have the negro arrested for not paying rent regardless if the landlord takes care of the upkeep. Hughes uses diction, style, and imagery to reveal the inequalities that existed between blacks and whites in the 1930s and 1940’s. Diction is the foundation of any poetry. There are three ways that the author uses diction. First, Hughes used informal diction in his work in order to relate to his audience. The low-income and possibly uneducated negro often faced racism and inequalities between themselves and their white landlords. An example of this is the use of informal words such as “gonna” (12) “ain’t” (19) and “bucks” (8) instead of…show more content…
Together, it helps prove the tenant in the poem was being mistreated. The sentences are very short to create urgency. The tone is very indignant and the author uses a euphemism to show that the tenant wants to act violently towards the landlord. ”You ain't gonna be able to say a word / If I land my fist on you" ( 19-20). Finally, the use of irony is embedded throughout the poem. The title of the poem, “Ballad of the Landlord” suggests that the poem will be told from the landlords point of view. We would envision the poem will be the woes of the landlord to glorify himself. It is ironic that the poems narrator is the tenant. The unexpected outcome with the tenant going to jail and having bad press even after the landlord illegally refused to make basic repairs on his apartment for his tenant is also ironic. One would believe that the landlord would do the right thing and fix his home to a livable condition. It is a form of situational irony that the landlord rights would supersede tenant
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