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Comment 67 of 167, added on April 4th, 2006 at 11:26 PM.
I remember reading this once to my class back in 2002. I had to capture the
emotion of this poem, and be able to say it (or in certain parts, shout) as
if I meant it.
I remember one thing that went through my mind back then, and it still does
now. This poem can be applied to what we have today. America has forgotten
what it was originally about, and at this rate, it will never remember.
When the first settlers landed here to colonize, they travelled seeking
freedom. Freedom from oppression, and persecution. They wanted the freedom
to rule themselves, to be able to practice their religion(s) without being
persecuted by anyone against them. Overall, they wanted to be free from
being controlled, and a chance to be equal to one another.
This was the original concept of the American Government; a government
ruled by all of the people. Where a person can come and be just like
everyone else. Instead, we have a country where the rich make the rules,
and a government that caters to them. To those of us in the US, take a look
around. Take a look at how everything seems to revolve around those who
have and control the money, how the government can do almost anything as
they please, and how the others suffer for everything they do.
Read this poem again, and again, and again. Close your eyes, and imagine
yourself in his place. Take a glimps of the world from his eyes, and you'll
understand a bit of what he has written.
Zer0ne from United States
Comment 66 of 167, added on April 4th, 2006 at 9:34 PM.
I have been utterly shocked at some of the racist and hurtful comments on
this page. In my opinion, if this poem was posted as having an anonymous
author, no one would know that it was written by an African-American. Or
rather, if it was publicized as being written by a white author, there
would not be so many racist comments against it. THIS IS NOT a poem about
black slavery or prejudice against the African-American race. Hughes
specifically refers to "the poor white" and "red man" IN ADDITION to the
"Negro." I think the knowledge that Hughes was an African-American himself
is overriding his message in some of your minds; you automatically assume
he is lashing out at the white race because he lived in a time where racial
prejudice was (sadly) more rampant than it is today. Instead of
concentrating solely on the racial aspects of this poem (although they are
an integral part and should be considered in analyzing this work) try to
see what else Hughes is trying to get across. I agree with JenPP on the
comment that the American Dream is a perfection that we as a country will
never attain. I think that Hughes sees that; the main message is that we,
as a UNIFIED society, regardless of race or status, should do our best to
ATTEMPT to achieve what we claim our country to be: the "homeland of the
Also, as a side note to some of you who have deemed yourself poetic
critics: in the world of literature, it is rude and even incorrect to label
a work "good" or "bad." Yes, you reserve the right to express your
feelings on how you felt about the work, such as saying,"I didn't like the
way he said this," or "I love the use of allusion here." But to consider
yourself powerful enough to deem an artist's work "good" or "bad" as though
you have the final word on what is or what isn't is ridiculous; you are
giving yourself false power. Art is never "good" or "bad." It just IS.
It is your INTERPRETATION and the impact that it had on you that is either
positive or negative.
OralInterp from United States
Comment 65 of 167, added on March 29th, 2006 at 9:02 PM.
I think people need to have a better understanding of not just what they
say, and of what Hughes has said in his work, but what other people are
saying. Might I ask why controdict someone, when you are actually, in fact
agreeing? There is a diference between arguing and debating. Arguing is
child's play. Debate is for adults.
from United States
Comment 64 of 167, added on March 22nd, 2006 at 4:49 PM.
To:jennifer from United Kingdom
Your post was so ignorant and I think you should know what you are talking
about when you write about America. your view are so close minded. The U.s
isn't all materialistic. It is like any other country in the world. Sure
our country has its share of problems and naive people but so does the rsst
of the world! Look at every single country and you can see their faults.
Nothing is perfect and not one person is better than the other. We are all
one race of imperfect humean beings. Everyone has their fauls but humans
have to see past the walls of established mind sets of superiority,
religion, race, countries, nations, and continental didvisions.
from United States
Comment 63 of 167, added on March 22nd, 2006 at 4:19 PM.
Everyone who reads a Langston Hughes work has to keep in mind that he lived
in a time when suppression of the black race was customary and the Jim Crow
laws where at their peak. The time of the harlem Reinassance when 90% of
black people were stuck in the south being tortured, lynched, bounded by
sharecropping, and in a way still slaves in society. Growing up in a
democratic government while these terrible things were happenning was all
that Hughes saw. Ofcourse he would look at the cummunist governments who
swear that their main agendas are equality. He was naive in this way to
blame the government when so much has gone wrong. even though cummunism is
terrible, langston was so blinded at the suppression of his race that he
ignored the injustices, labors, and terrors of a cummunist government. His
poem was beautiful. It is a story of slavery in not only America but in
the world. The title may be America but it is not right to judge the US for
their problems when all countries have suffered the same. The world isn't
perfect, the human race is not perfect. But people like Langston Hughes can
help us learn and can teach us to see the wrongs that have been committed.
Only after we learn of the terrors once witnessed is when we can avoid
repeating the mistakes all of humanity has made.I am usually not the
biggest poetry fan but Langston was a credible poet and a great writer.
Despite the controversies of the simplicity of his works.
Yarel 16 years old from United States
Comment 62 of 167, added on March 21st, 2006 at 4:06 PM.
this poem sucked it had no soul or flow in its words im not impressed
Comment 61 of 167, added on March 19th, 2006 at 9:00 AM.
I think this poem gives you a new perspective on the USA. Very interesting
and touching. Great work Hughes!
alpal from United States
Comment 60 of 167, added on March 11th, 2006 at 7:14 AM.
At first I think this poem is really great. I like it even more than the
German ones ;)
I also believe we should consider that it is still up-to-date. I think that
the people today becomes more and more selfish with their grabbing and
greed. So they do what they want without thinking of other people living
around them. I don't know whether it is like this in America but I'm quite
sure that there's no place all over the world where you are safe from this.
I hope you see that we all make the world bad because we only wait and see
without doing something. That's it what the poem made me think of and I
hope that I'm not the only one because the world can be better if we do
something for her and always try to help other poeple instead of thinking
of our own profit from this actions.
Ari from Germany
Comment 59 of 167, added on February 28th, 2006 at 7:54 PM.
this poem is very touching and when i had to do a project on Hughes i never
thought i could be this touched by a single poem i think we all need to
look at ourselves and not judge every one and treat everyone equal great
from United States
Comment 58 of 167, added on February 21st, 2006 at 2:06 AM.
First off, it is really sad that alot of people posting here think Langston
Hughes is alive and are saying, "Hi" to him. Do some research, people!
There is alot of info on the web about LH, his life, and some critical
analysis of this poem.
I have to disagree that this poem applies to the US today. Especially
coming from the mouths of pre-teens and teenagers--you haven't even moved
out of your house yet so what do you know about the real challenges in this
country besides what you hear from family, TV, and your teachers? I studied
this poem among many other literary pieces while obtaining my undergraduate
degree. There is alot of misunderstanding when it comes ot the reading of
this piece. First of all, the American Dream, much like the City on A Hill
concept, will always be an unattainable goal, an ideal that can never be
realized in an imperfect world. This past weekend I witnessed a Girl Scout
troop performing this as part of World Thinking Day. I was appalled as they
acted out slaves being beaten and children recited these words. They do not
understand the meaning. The poem is not uplifintg--it is an expression of
the struggles of those from the depths of society to attain the Dream. In a
capitalist society, no matter how "rich" the poor are, there will still
always be a "poor" class and a Rich class. The demographics may differ but
there will always be such a system in the US, unless capitalism dies. The
only way that there can be equality as Hughes expressed would be in a
socilaist or communist government, where there are no real social classes.
It is important in criticizing any work that you consider the times in
which the work was crafted, the history of the writer themselves, and so
on. How can you otherwise put the work into the correct context to do an
JenPP from United States
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