2 and 2 are 4.
4 and 4 are 8.

But what would happen
If the last 4 was late?

And how would it be
If one 2 was me?

Or if the first 4 was you
Divided by 2?

Analysis, meaning and summary of Langston Hughes's poem Problems

19 Comments

  1. MAC says:

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    Symbolize the love, the charity, since there is necessarily duality between which gives and which receives.
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    Symbol of sexuality since 2 represents also the division of the unit in male and female.
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    The principle of the duality can be represented in the form of couple or pair, and would imply the idea of direct and reciprocal reports of simple complementary relations. According to Eckarthausen, “2 is the Number by which one is united to the other and by what only all parts of the world make one.”

  2. Amdipuh says:

    “Problems,” by Langston Hughes, is one of his shorter poems. In this little poem, Hughes uses simple mathematics to represent a deeper theme: identity. The line “2 and 2 are 4” represents the consistency in humanity but, his second stanza goes on to show how these identities can easily shift in life. “If one 2 was me” suggests that things change as well as people and people can shift in and out of other people’s lives. The title “problem” suggests that, though there are problems in life and between humans, there is an underlying consistency to be understood. These problems can “divide” us, but it doesn’t mean that the outcome should come out any different. Langston Hughes may be trying to imply that these “problem” are often racial ones, especially in his time. Numbers are always numbers; people are always people. The importance of these concepts shouldn’t be determined by what number it is but rather just the fact it’s a number. With so many uncontrollable variables in life, any consistency should be held on it. “If one 2 was me” shows that Langston Hughes himself could have been born a white man (or a 4) but it wouldn’t change his ultimate function.

  3. Dedrick Dunton says:

    Very Good!

  4. FM says:

    Great things come in small, if you like use simple, packages. The message here is about the universality of the human expereince. It is not just about racial, ethnic or gender realities but rather the entire notion of how we all relate to another. “I am just another half of you, no matter who you are anf both of us together will always add-up to a BIGGER SUMbody”. So watch it whenever you diminish someone else out of prejudice, you are really HALFING yourself. And vice, when you DOUBLE someeone else, you are in restrospect and in reflex, also LIFTED UP

  5. langlo says:

    Is it just deep or what? I didn’t understand the supposedly meaning of the poem. What’s the message, huh? Can someone even tell? And why did the heck did he even write the poem? Does the author himself understand his own written piece???

  6. nabilah says:

    how can anyone understand this poem i hate math and this poem makes no sense at all!!!!!!!!!!

  7. Kenya Swain says:

    This poem is excellent!! simple but complexed!! The complexity of the poem is the equation it self, but the simplicity of it is the solution, because what it all adds up to and what it oil boils down to is simply…. EQUALITY

  8. Vrikk says:

    I agree with Victorious, who agrees with Clifton. After analyzing this poem I think if has to do with the racial differences and similarities of African Americans and Caucasians. The point coming across for me is that people back then believed that an African American is only worth half of an Anglo American, which is extremely untrue. But at the end trying to say that they are equal.

  9. Britt & BG says:

    Wow this poem is awesome though we don’t quite get it!

  10. VICTORIOUS!!! says:

    I AGREE WIT CLIFTON 4RM DA U.S. ITS COMPLICATED BUT I THINK DATS WAT HUGHES WAS SAYIN. NEWAYZ ITS AN AMAZING POEM LIKE ALL OF HIS OTHER ONES. HE REMAINS MY INSPIRATION LIKE THE SUN IS INSPIRATION FOR A BRIGHTER DAY! 🙂 -1LUV 2 ALL MY PPLS IN DA CHI HOLLA AT A SISTA1!! -ALWAYZ SUPPORT OUR TROOPS!! SHOUT OUT 2 GG I GOT UNEXPLAINABLE LUV 4U STAY STRONG LIKE I KNOW U ARE!!!

  11. Joe says:

    This makes no sense what so ever

  12. patty says:

    It was so interesting and it gets people thinking.So he is avery good writer/poet.

  13. Kyleen says:

    I really liked this poem even though the first couple of times i read it it didn’t really make much sense to me. All of your comments helped:)

  14. Clifton says:

    langston hughes might be talking also about the racial issues no matter how someone look at it they might interprete it in a way that suit them best eg: i am 2 you are 4 divide by 2 are you not the same as me? blacks for example was viewed as less than white it proble was that it took 2 black men to make a white man is actually the same as a one of them, isn’t a black man and a white man still men.

  15. Leondra says:

    this poem is so fascinating

  16. Tiffany Sing says:

    Langston Hughs is a great poet! In the poem “Problems,” it talks about the issues that people have. NO matter how small it is, it’s still a problem. No-matter how big it is, it’s still a problem. In such a big place or small place, problems still comes along the way. All you have to do is just deal with it!

  17. alicia says:

    he’s saying that every has problems that are hard to solve weather they are big or small

  18. Ashley Neblett says:

    I was confused the first time I read it.I read it again and finally caught on.Langston Hughes is one of the best poets I’ve heard about.Problems are always gonna be around and you’ll be confused by some of them.

  19. Leslee says:

    Yeah I got confused too. I think you are right. No matter how small the problem it is still a problem.

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