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Analysis and comments on Merry-Go-Round by Langston Hughes

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Comment 25 of 25, added on February 18th, 2011 at 12:15 PM.
dumb

this poem is just talking about the life back then.. it reallydoesnt talk
about nothing about life today.. its just a dumb poem.. black people dont
even care anymore.they sit in the back of the bus either way..

risky from United States
Comment 24 of 25, added on November 3rd, 2010 at 8:58 AM.
blah

its retarded

carl from Pakistan
Comment 23 of 25, added on June 1st, 2010 at 1:43 PM.
Colored Child at Carnival

This black child who comes from “down South” has known racial segregation
ever since he was born. He knows that on buses there black people have to
sit in the back; likewise, on trains, there are cars reserved for them.
Where they have to sit is called the “Jim Crow section”, in reference to
the infamous laws forbidding Blacks to mix with Whites in public places.
This black child is now in the North – a new country to him – and would
like to ride on a merry-go-round – a new problem. Indeed, as we are made to
understand, there is no Jim Crow section on a merry-go-round for the simple
reason that it has neither front nor back. The questions he asks the adult
– maybe a white man – can therefore receive no satisfactory answers. Yet we
are not really interested in the answers, all the more so as there are none
given. Only the child’s questions matter here. They are meant to make us
realise that racial discrimination is a purely arbitrary process and that
its logic is far from impeccable. This particular case – the merry-go-round
– blatantly exposes its intrinsic inanity since the circular shape of the
carousel prevents any form of segregation.
The black child is therefore confronted to a situation where the old rules
no longer apply and is at a loss for what to do. Here again, whether he
eventually chooses to ride on the merry-go-round or not is quite
irrelevant. The point is that he is offered an option he was never allowed
to contemplate hitherto. Paradoxically, the world has opened up in the form
of a closed circle. But this figure of a circle is first and foremost a
metaphor for a perfect – or at least, better – world, freed of all its
man-made divisions and therefore returned to its primeval innocence, where
anybody can live free regardless of the colour of their skin.


Jay Pea from France
Comment 22 of 25, added on December 8th, 2009 at 6:17 PM.

this poem really made me understand how segregation effects younger
children. it must have been so much for him, that he asked if he could get
on a merry go round.

nisma from United States
Comment 21 of 25, added on May 9th, 2009 at 1:46 PM.

It is ironic that Jim Crow is somewhat shown as a black right activist.
When langston states that there was a Jim crow section for blacks down
south. The merry-go-round symblolizes the rights that a normal black child
has been deprived of during that time. It could also symbolize moving
forward and becoming more racial tolerant since there isnt a back to a
merry-go-round. The whites and blacks have no designated section for each
race, so it shows more racial equality.

KARIM from United States
Comment 20 of 25, added on March 24th, 2009 at 9:30 PM.

Sorry buddy but a black child did not write that passage about all the
animosity, hatred, etc. Any child i know cannot write like that

josep from United States
Comment 19 of 25, added on March 23rd, 2009 at 8:27 PM.

Mr. Langston Hughes in school we made this poem a little more creative we
made it into a rap so younger kids as myself could relate to it.When I just
read the poem and really analyzed it I feel the as a black child in
America even though I wasn't living during those hard times that
African-American children had to go through all of that
racism,hatred,discrimination,animosity,and I can go on and on about the
things these children went through but I won't. But the Impact you had or I
should say Have on my life is astounding.This captures almost everything
that in my opinion black children and adults had to go through (back
then)segregation is really what this poem is about but to me it is so much
more thank you for really opening my Mr.Langston Hughes

Eboine only 13
Comment 18 of 25, added on May 15th, 2008 at 7:31 PM.

this poem is compiling, truthful, and a emblem to injustice

dr. harvey
Comment 17 of 25, added on May 7th, 2008 at 5:34 AM.

there is irony in his poem, the light-hearted tone contrasted to the
sadness in the normality of racism.

Student
Comment 16 of 25, added on February 25th, 2008 at 5:10 PM.

This is not reffering to Rosa Parks, it is simply showing the unfairness
the little kid is experiencing. Jim Crow is an old song that was back in
those days and in the poem it is refering to the set of laws called the Jim
Crow laws. The term jim crow comes from an old comedian that blackened his
face with a burnt cork and danced and sang to jump jim crow this rediculous
skit making black people look un-human. He came up with this skit after
watching a crippled black person doing the same thing on the street

cole from United States

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Information about Merry-Go-Round

Poet: Langston Hughes
Poem: Merry-Go-Round
Added: Feb 20 2003
Viewed: 2409 times
Poem of the Day: Sep 6 2003


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