Why You Reckon Langston Hughes

Why You Reckon Langston Hughes

Langston Hughes is one of the greatest African American poets and writers in America’s history, as he was born in 1902 and passed on in 1967. His works relate to the African American experience, including topics such as racism, segregation, and injustice. When reading his work, it is easy to understand why there is a great demand for anything that has been written by Hughes.

Hughes’s poetry is captivating, as he was known for his free-verse form and captivating subject matter. His vivid imagery brought life to his stanzas, as he rarely strayed away from his objective of depicting the struggles of African Americans in America, as he was a civil rights activist and social actualist. Hughes was also known to use common slang and language of African Americans, that only his readers could understand, which gives his work a unique feel and more in-depth meaning.

Hughes’s writing has been studied and interpreted from different perspectives from a variety of scholars. The most common view is that Hughes’swork expresses the innate struggle and realities of African Americans in America and how his writings inspire them. From a cultural perspective, his literature acts as a representation of how African Americans lived and practiced in America, notably how, regardless of what life presents, the African American spirit will never die.

Furthermore, Hughes’s work allows readers to explore their own personal stories and connections. It is not uncommon to find small volumes in people’s bookshelves of poetry written by him. One of the things that stand out other authors from this period is that Hughes wrote from the heart and soul, which is showcased in his narratives, often depicting the unseen and unheard stories of African American people.

The most renowned piece of literature written by Hughes is the HarperCollins published “The Ways of White Folks” in 1930, which explores racism and injustice that African Americans faced in America during that time period. Through his writing, Hughes was able to influence the civil rights movement, as his work served as a source of encouragement for African Americans while they fought for civil rights and against racism.

Nowadays, Hughes’s work has gained popularity outside of America as well, being studied in many countries all around the world, mainly due to its great flow of language and powerful messages that still stand to this day. There were also several recordings of Hughes’s works, which include poetical readings and even musical collaborations. This way, his work has been brought to more people, even individuals who might not be too well-versed in the English language.

Free Verse Analysis

Hughes was renowned for using the free verse style of writing, which involvesforgoing the usage of traditional poetic forms, such as meter or rhyme schemes. Free verse allows the poet to explore their own personal freedoms in writing, as shown in some of Hughes poems such as “The Negro Speaks of Rivers”, which explores the African American’s long connection with their homeland against the white man’s exploitation.

The free verse form is not only utilised by Hughes, but also by some other African American poets such as Countee Cullen and Claude McKay. The goal of free verse is to make sure that each poem has its own form and couple of creative sparkles that attract the reader’s attention, which is demonstrated in Hughes’s work often.

Therefore, Hughes can be looked at as an example of how to use free verse in an effective and poetic manner. Being an influential poet and advocate of his people, Hughes has attached more importance to free verse and its expressive potential, as he was not afraid to write about the most difficult experiences African Americans had to face in a creative way.

Influence Through the Generations

When looking at Hughes’s influence across literature, it can be seen that his influence has been passed on to newer generations of African American poets, such as Maya Angelou, who was also a well-known advocate for civil rights. She often looked to Hughes for inspiration, as she shared a similar stance towards civil rights. Hughes often consulted with Angelou when she was writing her work, which reflects in Angelou’s work, as she often uses a similar style and similar topics that Hughes often touched upon.

In terms of the personal aspect of Hughes, it can be said that he was ahead of his time in how he viewed civil rights and racial injustice in America. It was not just his writings that were influential, but he was also seen as a mentor to younger African Americans in the literary and art world, as he was one of the few voices advocating for civil rights during his time.

In terms of Hughes’s legacy, it can be said that it has been preserved and even grown since his death, as his work continues to be praised by authors, scholars, critics, and even people in the art world, such as musicians and painters, as his influence has been an inspiration to many.

Using Themes To Connect To The Present

When looking at Hughes’s works and themes, it can be seen that, even though his works are mainly focused on civil rights and the struggles African Americans faced in the past, his works can still be applied to today’s society. For example, his poem “Mother to Son” focuses on the struggles of oppression and poverty, themes that are still relevant today. This poem can be used to explain the hardships that many African Americans face today, and why it is important to continue the struggle he had advocated for.

It is clear to see why Hughes is so integral when discussing African American literature, civil rights, and even the present, as his works serve as timeless pieces of literature. His works were often seen as controversial but also extremely influential in terms of civil rights during his time and continue to be to this day.

Diversity of Works and Appreciation

Hughes was known for tackling a multitude of topics throughout his work. His works touched upon a variety of themes from love, race, and history to civil rights, oppression, and even jazz music. Hughes was able to draw on his experiences and the experiences of African Americans of his time to form memorable pieces of literature that would later become classics.

It is clear to see why there is great appreciation for Hughes both in America and abroad. His works, as mentioned before, contain vivid imagery and intricate language, which still draw in readers today who are learning about African American culture and literature. Furthermore, Hughes was seen as a mentor to many, being able to provide them a bridge to understanding some of the misunderstandings, issues, and themes of race, discrimination, and even oppression that African Americans had to face in his time and continue to face today.

Reflection of Hughes

It can be argued that Hughes’s works should be in classrooms and literature courses, as his works are still so important today in educating and informing readers of the realities and struggles of African Americans, both in the past and in the present. His works also contain several valuable lessons about life, such as perseverance, resilience, and hope for the future, which are all critical elements for African Americans to have.

Overall, it can be said that Langston Hughes is still an integral figure in African American culture and literature, as students and those interested in civil rights can still learn valuable lessons from his works. Moreover, Hughes’s works will likely continue to be taught in schools and be celebrated, as his work served to provide encouragement to African Americans while they fought for civil rights and against racism.

Relevance in Today’s Society

In terms of relevance in today’s society, it can be said that Langston Hughes is even more relevant today then before, as civil rights have taken a front-and-center focus for many, including Hughes. Through his writings, Hughes was able to provide guidance and hope for African Americans, giving them a light in a time of darkness. His works still hold a great amount of meaning today, as the struggles he wrote about are still present and seen every day.

Many have looked to his works for hope and guidance as Martin Luther King Jr. did with his speech “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop.” Furthermore, many younger generations will look to Hughes for inspiration, as a reminder of why civil rights are so important, and how they must continue to fight for it, regardless of the cost.

Overall, Langston Hughes is still an integral figure and highly influential figure in African American culture, literature, and even civil rights and race. His works are still read today and hold valuable lessons that, if taken advantage of, can help African Americans navigate through difficult times and understand the struggles they are facing.

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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