The essay is an analytical and interpretive work about Langston Huges and his poetry. Issues addressed are the time his works was written and published, influence of the then social attitude towards his works and their reception, the social understanding of the past by reading his work, reflections of authors life in his works, how the work illuminate the past for us and differences in thoughts and values in the past and now. Huges was not only a poet but also a novelist, columnist, playwright and short story writer.
Huges poetry works was first poetry book “The Weary Blue” (Huges 1926) was written in 1919 and published in 1926, other works was published between 1926 to 2001/2002. In total, he wrote 95 poems that primarily revolved around racism and racial consciousness – blacks amidst the whites and politics. For instance, in his poem “my people” he said that the eyes, faces and soul of his people are beautiful- of course, he was referring to the black Americans.
The social attitude did affect his works and how they were received. Most African-Americans were of the opinion that Huges work portrayed their life as being unattractive “Fine Clothes to the Jew” (Huges 1927). Many intellectuals and the community at that time were very sensitive to issues about their race. For this reason, his works were received with mixed reactions and in some instances, they were misunderstood.
From his work, we clearly understand that black people were being discriminated against by the whites-only because of their skin color and nothing else. They were not being given equal job opportunities like the whites, despised when it comes to transportation among other things. This is seen when he was denied passage to the ship and what he went through while in a Colombian institution- racial prejudice.
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To clearly gain an understanding of the past from his work, we need to also go through historical books of the United States of America and at the same time try to compare the current life of African American to that experienced by those blacks in late 18th and 19th century. it was clear in the past that the blacks were regarded “less humans” by the whites and discriminated economically, socially and politically, but now, black American have as much rights as the whites.
Currently, all American are equal on the basis of the laws of the land, there is no discrimination on the basis of skin color, and this is depicted by the election of Obama (black American) to be a president. In addition, African Americans don’t hold low opinion of themselves as compared to the past.
There are numerous life experiences that Huges in cooperated in his work. For instance, his relationship with the father, and the incident in which he was denied passage on a ship because he was black (” I, too, sing America.” – I, Too” (Knopf, 1994). In short, he didn’t differentiate his personal life and the common experiences of African Americans. This made him be in a position to clearly reflect the culture of black American, including both their suffering and their culture.
Huges” insight ability and colorful portrayal of events coupled within cooperation of personal experiences to poetry, we are drawn so close to “feel” and “see” what happened in the 19th century concerning the black Americans life. He brought to light the plights as well as the capability of African Americans in U.S.