Let America Be America Again Essay

605 WordsJan 23, 20123 Pages
LET AMERICA BE AMERICA AGAIN Let America Be America Again Juan A Severino South University English II Literature Instructor: Julie Kares 05/01/10 The poem "Let America Be America Again" by Langston Hughes purposefully is reminiscent of (Walt Whitman's) "I Hear America Singing" in which Whitman is optimistic about this land of democratic opportunity. Hughes, Hughes was the first African American author to support himself through his writing; he produced more than sixty books. He earned critical attention for his portrayal of realistic black characters and he became one of the dominant voices speaking out on issue concerning black culture. He wrote in many genres; starting and continuing with poetry, he turned to fiction, autobiographies, and children’s books. His most famous fictional character is Jesse B. Semple, nickname Simple, who uses humor to protest and satirize the existing injustice. Hughes, however, writing from a black man’s perspective, is much less optimistic about what America has been or will be. While Whitman’s’ poem was very unstructured in blank verse, Hughes’s poem is more tightly controlled with rhyme, tone, rhetorical questions, and more unified with repeated anaphora. Langston Hughes uses connotation well in this poem to evoke all of the wonderfully patriotic images of America but also to make the reader question this images. These images are very vivid; the idea of scars connotes all the violence and beatings of slavery, which makes the reader even more passionate of the reading. Langston Hughes ends the poem on an optimistic note. (It never was America to me). His tone in the poem also contributes to the meaning. His tone seems almost confessional, like the poet is talking about his own experience in America. Hughes points out all the flaws in the ideas of equal

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