Why You Reckon By Langston Hughes Pdf

Exploring The Poetic Elements

Langston Hughes is known as one of the most influential American poets of the twentieth century. This is evident within the poem ‘Why, You Reckon?’, which showcases Hughes’s unique writing style which blends influence from jazz music and other African American folk arts. The poem is written in an African American Vernacular English and features vivid imagery, figurative language and a rich symbolic use of metaphor and simile. The poem explores the themes of racial inequality and discrimination in American society.

The poem begins with a strong, defiant tone and immediately draws the reader in. Hughes sets the mood for the poem by introducing the concept of reckoning. This is done by directly addressing the reader with a rhetorical question, ‘What are you thinking when you look at me?’. By repeating this question throughout the poem Hughes is conveying an air of uncertainty, a feeling of being judged and analyzed. Throughout the poem Hughes uses powerful imagery and symbolism to evoke deeper emotions from the reader, such as when Hughes describes the world as a ‘crowded room of liars’. He paints a vivid picture of the world being full of deceit and conflict and conveys a sense of desperation, of feeling overwhelmed and powerless.

Perhaps one of the most memorable lines of the poem is ‘I turn my eyes upon the slant of light’. Here Hughes is using a metaphor to express the idea that one must be open to possibility and hope in order to overcome adversity. By using the slant of light as a representation of hope, Hughes is offering the advice that even in times of darkness and despair one must take whatever light they can find and use it as a source of strength and courage to persevere.

The poem ends with a sense of resolve, as Hughes contemplates his own reckoning and the reckoning of others. He boldly declares his own identity, asserting his black authority in the face of racist injustice that he and many others face. He also expresses hope for a more equitable future, one where his reckoning will be accepted and respected by all. This final message of strength and hope resonates throughout the entire poem and leaves the reader feeling inspired and uplifted.

The Poet Himself

Langston Hughes was a prominent African American author and poet. He was born in Joplin, Missouri in 1902 and spent much of his early life in Kansas City, Missouri. Hughes was deeply influenced by jazz music and often used musical elements in his poetry. His works reflect the struggles of African Americans for equality and freedom and address themes of racial injustice and identity.

Hughes is highly regarded for his impact on African American literature, especially for his works which draw upon black culture and heritage. He was part of the Harlem Renaissance, a period of creativity that peaked in African American writers, musicians and visual artists in the early 20th century. During this period, Hughes wrote some of his most influential works such as The Weary Blues and Not Without Laughing, as well as Why, You Reckon?

Hughes’ work is still relevant today, as it speaks to the struggle for social justice and the need for a unified voice in the face of racial oppression. His unique writing style and powerful messages will continue to inspire future generations of African American writers and poets.

Why You Reckon By Langston Hughes PDF

The poem Why You Reckon written by Langston Hughes is available for free in the form of a PDF. The PDF version of the poem is the best way to read it, as it replicates the structure and layout of the original text. It also contains footnotes that provide more information about the poem and allow readers to gain a deeper understanding of its themes.

The online copy of the poem also includes a section of critical analysis which provides further insight into the meaning of the poem and the context in which it was written. The PDF version of the poem is widely available and can be found on sites such as Project Gutenberg, which provides free access to classic texts. It is also available on sites such as Google Books and Amazon.

The PDF version of the poem is an invaluable resource, as it allows readers to quickly and easily access Hughes’s powerful poem. Furthermore, it allows them to experience the poem in its original published form and to gain a deeper insight into the themes and symbols present within it.

Popularity and Reception

Why You Reckon by Langston Hughes is a widely read and highly acclaimed piece of literature. Over the years the poem has gained a significant amount of attention, both from poetry lovers and those trying to understand the effects of racial injustice. It has even been used in schools and universities to help teach students about the importance of recognizing the struggles of African Americans throughout history.

The poem was also included in several anthologies and has been featured in newspapers, such as the New York Times. Hughes’s poem has become iconic and seen as a powerful call to action for social justice and as a reminder of the need for continued progress in the fight for equality.


Why You Reckon by Langston Hughes is a powerful and emotionally charged poem that speaks to the struggles faced by African Americans in the 20th century. The poem is full of vivid imagery and deep symbolism, highlighting the impact of racial injustice in society. The PDF version of the poem is widely available and provides readers with an in-depth look into the themes, symbolism and structure of the poem. The poem has been widely praised and is still used today to educate and inspire readers about the need for social justice.

Dannah Hannah is an established poet and author who loves to write about the beauty and power of poetry. She has published several collections of her own works, as well as articles and reviews on poets she admires. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English, with a specialization in poetics, from the University of Toronto. Hannah was also a panelist for the 2017 Futurepoem book Poetry + Social Justice, which aimed to bring attention to activism through poetry. She lives in Toronto, Canada, where she continues to write and explore the depths of poetry and its influence on our lives.

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