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I believe the poem “I, Too” directly addresses the issues of identity.  “I, Too” written by Langston Hughes reflects a common experience for many African Americans during the Harlem Renaissance. The speaker begins by proclaiming that he too can “sing America.”  He is declaring his right to have pride in his country, even though he is the “darker brother” who isn’t permitted to sit at the dining room table and must eat in the kitchen instead. This illustrates the familiar practice of racial segregation during the 1900s, when discrimination was an everyday occurance for African Americans.  Whether it was from sitting in the back of the bus or drinking out of segregated water fountains, black people were forced to live, work, and eat separate.  No matter what the circumstances were, black people were continuously treated poorly.  Hughes, however, does not weaken in despair.  He says that “tomorrow” he will join the company at the table and no one will ever send him back to the kitchen.  He continues to say that the  “others” will see “how beautiful” he is and will therefore feel ashamed.  He feels that he too is an American citizen and deserves the respect of his peers; with this statement he shows that he believes that he will earn their respect.   “The Negro Speaks of Rivers” written by Langston Hughes was inspired by a journey by train to visit his father.  When the train crossed the Mississippi River he realized how beautiful and majestic the Mighty Mississippi was and it reminded him of the slavery that took place here.  Hughes also goes on to say, “I bathed in the Euphrates… I built my hut near the Congo… I looked up the Nile… I heard the signing of the Mississippi.”  Instead of being sad and depressed of what happened, he is linking himself to his ancestors saying, “My soul has grown deep like rivers.”  I believe that this poem is closely related to the Harlem Renaissance.  The Harlem Renaissance was a remarkable movement during the 1920s and 1930s where black people explored artististic, literary, musical, and visual art.  This poem is closely related to the Harlem Renaissance because they both celebrate the heart and soul of the black community during a time of discrimination and racial segregation.  One poem that spoke to me and that I enjoyed was “Cross” by Langston Hughes.  This poem was written in a first-person point of view of what it is like to be a cross-bred between two races that hated one another for the color of their skin.  Although Langston Hughes had both a black mother and black father, he still understands the confusion, conflict, and discrimination that a person of a mixed heritage would experience.  I really enjoyed this poem because it is very accurate and I never heard anything like this before.  He states the difference between white and black people and how they were treated differently by saying, “My old man dies in a big, fine house.  My ma died in a shack.”  This just explains how differently white people were treated compared to black and how white people are more privileged where blacks aren’t even thought of as Americans and some go so far as to see Black Americans as non-human.  Hughes then goes on to say, “I wonder where I’m gonna die, being neither white nor black.”  This quote is very interesting to think about because he is right.  He isn’t just white or black.  Because of our society during the Harlem Renaissance he would probably “die in a shack” like his mother when in reality he is as much white as he is black.

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