Langston Hughes Poetry Analysis

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Influence of the Jazz age on Poetry by Langston Hughes The 1920s was the age of consumerism and liberation for some, but also a time of renewed expression for African Americans, and an integration of their culture with White American culture. After the end of WW1 in 1918, America was in a beneficial economic position creating an economic boom with increased demand for everything. The result of this was an increase in spending on large belongings such as automobiles, as jobs paid better wages. The age was a time of liberation for women who were experiencing more social freedom in their clothing which was more convenient for the work they were not allowed to perform, which was a result of their contribution in the war. Still leading up to, and…show more content…
The themes expressed in ‘Harlem’ are those of dreams, transience, and choices, which are expressed through the use of 6 rhetorical questions causing the reader to ponder their interpretation of dreams and come up with their own answer. The main theme of dreams is introduced in the first line and rhetorical question of the poem “What happens to a dream deferred?” (1) where Hughes refers to a dream which has been put off or forgotten about. He offers up suggestions to the reader of what may happen to the dream which has been deferred, questioning; “Does it dry up / like a raisin in the sun?” (2-3) comparing a dream to a grape which transitions to a raisin when left out in the sun. The comparison of a dream to a grape is significant because fruit only has a certain amount of time that it is ripe for, which means that it will change and rot if it is forgotten about, or deferred. Langston further compares and suggests that dreams rot, fester, sag, or explode once deferred or put off, and must be pursued when the mind desires them. During the Jazz age, black people were treated with inequality in their day to day lives, and although slavery was abolished 60 years previously, the dream of equality had been deferred, and it was continuously affecting African Americans. The Harlem Renaissance was a time of expression for African Americans, expressing the hardships of their day to day life and their cultural identity creatively through writing, music, and art. African Americans in the Harlem Renaissance shared the dream of equality and ‘Harlem’ is a poem discussing the poisonous effects of leaving a dream waiting too long. In the poem ‘I, Too, Sing America’ Hughes writes with the themes of

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