James Weldon Johnson was known mainly for his poetry James John was the first African American in his country. Johnson gave a more in depth view into his life he also focused on African American accomplishment and everything battled through his life he was brought up in a middle class setting. Along this was a way to clear that the autobiography of Ex-Coloured Man was not a record of his life. O black slave singers, gone, forgot, unfamed, You—you alone, of all the long, long line Of those who’ve sung untaught, unknown, unnamed, Have stretched out upward, seeking the divine.
Many poets used metaphor and simile in poems to bring attention to serious issues in society. Ports used metaphor to pinpoint the issue through direct comparison. For instance, in the poem Hope is a bird by Emily Dickinson, Dickinson introduced her metaphor in the first two lines "Hope is the thing with feathers -that preaches in the soul". She then develops it throughout the poem by telling what the bird does (sing), how it reacts to hardship. Rita Dove is an African American contemporary woman.
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.
Jean Toomer’s “Georgia Dusk” reveals the remaining influence of slavery on a newly freed African American society. The title is especially relevant within Toomer’s poem, as it signifies a motif that exhibits lightness and darkness within the poem. “Georgia Dusk” signifies this fusion through the word “dusk”, or the time when day transforms into night. This has a possible relation to Toomer’s identity as a mixed-race person, in that he has several racial identities.
In two poems “Sympathy” written by Paul Laurence Dunbar and “Caged Bird” written by Maya Angelou talk about a poor bird that is trapped in a cage and wants to be free. It longs for everything that the free bird has but it cannot achieve it. In both of the poems, there is a use of comparisons between freedom and nature. It is also interpreted from the poems that the use of a song is a form of coping for the birds. Both of the birds sing for their freedom and sing through their pain.
But a plea that upward to heaven he flings-”(18,20). This quote shows the caged bird’s song is not one of joy or glory, but of pain and suffering. This quote is important because the bird’s freedom may be taken away, but his hope cannot. The author shows he knows the pain of the caged bird when he says,”I know why the caged bird beats his wing/
Homage to the Empress of the Blues The poem “Homage to the Empress of the Blues” by Robert E. Hayden, written in 1962, is a tribute to the blues singer Bessie Smith. This poem requires careful reading and attention. This poem is an honor to Bessie Smith, an African American blues singer who was very popular in the 1920s and 1930s. I listened to the blues song on YouTube and the rhythm it made me want to sing along but there was definitely a message behind the song I think about African American slaves.
Langston Hughes is an African-American poet whose poems and short stories are based off of his own experiences as a slave during the early to mid-20th century. Langston Hughes’ most notable poems, “Let America Be America Again”, “I, Too, Sing America”, and “A Dream Deferred”, represent not only Langston Hughes’ viewpoint on segregation and discrimination, but also show how his perspective of Civil Rights changed somewhat throughout the years. As Langston Hughes grew older, his poems became more symbolic, less blunt, and shorter to better represent African Americans’ struggle and strength. The first poem, “Let America Be America Again”, was written in 1935 and is the longest and most direct about its delivery.
To understand the real meaning of a literary work, we need to look into the meaning of each word and why the author has chosen these particular words and not different ones. Close reading of literary works helps us understand the author’s thinking and understanding of the time they lied in. One of the American poet and author of the 18th century, Phillis Wheatley, she was one of the most famous poets who changed the life of most Americans. Wheatley’s most famous poem is “On Being Brought from Africa to America”. To look in more detail into this specific poem, first thing is the language that she uses, second the form and style of the poem, and lastly what message she is trying to get to her audience.
In Chesnutt’s work he uses irony to help convey the contradictory aspects of life on the color line. In many of his stories, there are times where the readers expect one thing and then something different happens. For example in “The Passing of Grandison” Grandison has a thick southern dialect which he uses to repeatedly to call Colonel Owens “marster” instead of master and he also stresses his gratitude for being a slave, because of this Colonel Owens brags about the fact that Grandison doesn’t have an interest in escaping and that he is a good slave. With this all being said the surprise ending certainly contradicts all that Grandison leads his readers to believe. Grandison ends up proving that his devotion isn’t to his master but to his family and there freedom.
According to the late, tragic folk hero, Joe Hill, “A good song could be learned and remembered, while a pamphlet would be read once and thrown away.” (Weissman, 175) Such an idea proves its validity when examining the long-lasting professional and societal success of the depression-era folk protest singer, Woody Guthrie. Throughout his adolescence and his adventures as a box-car musician during the early 1930s, Guthrie faced hardships unparalleled by popular singers of his day. Taken aback by the horrors he witnessed as the dust bowl and the Great Depression tore through the badlands he called home, Guthrie faced emotional turmoil, both in himself, and in the society that surrounded him.
Maya’s Ties with God Have you ever heard of Tupac cry, Maya Angelou was one, if not the only one who made him. Maya Angelou is one of the biggest voices of the 21st century. She does not talk, but she speaks, and she mostly speaks in the language of love. The reason? God.