Comment 67 of 168, added on October 12th, 2010 at 1:29 PM.
I too ...
I, Too" by Langston Hughes
The poem "I, Too" by Langston Hughes is an excellent example of a poem
using the word "I" as something other than its literal meaning. "I, Too" is
about the segregation of African Americans, whites and how soon segregation
will come to an end.
The first line of "I, Too" uses the word "I" right away. The line states
"I, too, sing America". This meter in particular is as important as the
entirety of the poem. It means not only whites are Americans, but African
Americans are citizens and should be treated equally. In the following
stanza, the word "I" is used several times. The first line of the second
stanza states "I am the darker brother" -- meaning he may be African
American, but he is still an American. The following five meters state
"They send me to eat in the kitchen. When company comes, but I laugh, and
eat well, and grow strong". The use of "I" here is showing that African
Americans do not worry about what is being done, but how they are growing
stronger as segregation continues, knowing soon they will be equal.
The third stanza shows what the future will be like, or as Hughes uses the
metaphorical "tomorrow." The stanza reads "Tomorrow, I’ll be at the table
when company comes. Nobody’ll dare say to me, "Eat in the kitchen," Then".
The use of "I" helps showing the African American community will soon rise
and be one with the rest of America.
The fourth stanza concludes in a way which states African Americans are not
inherently bad, but inherently good. The stanza reads "Besides, they’ll see
how beautiful I am and be ashamed – I, too, am America". Here Hughes says
that once African American's are recognized as equal, everyone will see
they are not bad and that they are beautiful as well as part of America.
Langston Hughes is a talented poet who uses metaphors and his own style of
writing to increase the effectiveness of his overall message. His usage of
"I" helps reiterate that he too is an American and will not be let down by
society nor will other African Americans. "I, Too" depicts the view of
African Americans in the past and their strength to move forward.
Democracy, by Langston Hughes
It is no surprise that democracy in the United States was nonexistent in
the early 1900s and throughout the Jim Crow era, for blacks had no rights.
Democracy back then was laughable and a joke - and outright biased.
Government rule by the people pertained to whites exclusively, excluding
all African Americans.
Therefore, Langston Hughes felt compelled to speak his mind for equality
and his birthright freedom via poetry. He clearly addresses his points of
view about democracy in the first stanza of "Democracy" (1949).
He declares the following: "Democracy will not come / Today, this year /
Nor ever / Through compromise and fear." He believes his rights should
parallel those of white people, without compromising his dignity in any
way. He declares he is an American and should have the rights to stand on
his two feet and own his land, supported by lines 7 through 9.
He doesn't want to wait for freedom; he wants to fight for freedom and make
a change. Moreover, he is not too fond of passive individuals who say the
following, "Let things take their course / Tomorrow is another day,"
because that kind of attitude signifies submission.
He indicates that everybody should have the right to exercise their freedom
because that's a birthright, for whites, blacks, and whomever. The final
three lines - "I live here, too / I want freedom / Just as you" - need no
interpretation, because the clarity of what he wants is obvious.
Democracy implies free and equal representation of people; in more concrete
language, it implies free and equal right of every single soul to
participate in a system of government, which was nonexistent to blacks at
the juncture, due to the Jim Crow laws.
The poem "Democracy" by Langston Hughes is one of many great poems (poetic
protest) conceived throughout his illustrious poetic life. Written in 1949,
he obviously wanted change and equality in the present when he was alive,
and not in the future, for a dead man has no right to freedom.
Appropriately, he had a pessimistic view of democracy because blacks were
treated badly and suffered greatly.
Can anyone blame a man for having such a negative view on democracy while
living in a racist society? Absolutely not! Thousands of Black Americans
had the same feeling.
In reality, democracy was profoundly one-sided, for blacks were not allowed
to be involved with any decision making, etc. Freedom and equality
summarize the entire poem, for that is what Hughes wanted at the time -
basic entitlement for one and for all.