Let America Be America Again by Langston Hughes

In: English and Literature

Submitted By peterkf
Words 957
Pages 4
Date of submission
Let America Be America Again By Langston Hughes
Theme: Freedom
In his poem, let America be America again, Hughes focuses on American freedom and equality. His concern was on the socio-economic division in the American society. Relating the American declaration at independence, Hughes observes that the road to achievement of equality and freedom lost. The country has become corrupt and its leaders and businessmen are greedy. The grabbed land and gold making them wealthier during the common American citizen; the Negros, red Indians, the poor whites and immigrants lavish in poverty (Schmidt, and Lynne, 776). They have not achieved the American promise of freedom. Hughes wrote the poem with the poor and the American dream in mind. He relates the national stratification based on class division to see the possibility of realizing the American dream. According to him, America has turned into a country of the mighty crushing the weak (line 24) and the economic powerhouses accumulate more wealth while the poor lavish in more poverty.
Capitalism has embraced the American philosophy and, therefore, it hinders the achievement of the long waited and dreamt for dream; a dream of equality, freedom and wellbeing. Greedy businessmen have altered the American dream. They have substituted equality and brotherhood with capitalism. Their actions have created a society that holds the slogan, ‘everybody for himself but God for us all.’ Nobody cares about his brother’s or neighbor’s well-being. They, the businessmen, have become self-centered and selfish instead of creating a favorable environment which will assist their fellow countrymen in realizing their dream. Instead, they have become the enemy of the state and the American dream as a whole. As Hughes writes, the want to grab the land and grab the gold (line 27 & 28); in so doing,…...

Similar Documents

Let America Be America

...things for granted and think a lot should be handed to them without a price. I once read that America use to be the land of the free, homeland to patriotism, but suddenly it has become different in many ways. I will explain through the messages and quotes of a protested poem, how America isn’t what it used to be. Everything will revolve around a poem called “Let America be America Again”`, by: Langston Hughes. “Let America be America again. - Let it be the dream it used to be. Let it be the pioneer on the plain. - Seeking a home where he himself is free. Let America be the dream the dreamers dreamed - Let it be that great strong land of love Where never kings connive nor tyrants scheme - That any man be crushed by one above.” In this section the author is introducing the idea that America isn’t what it used to be. America was simple a great dream like pioneers on the plain. It seems like the author is saying that America has changed to something that is unfamiliar and new to society. America was a place of love and romance; a place where no king was up to schemes or no man was better than another. “O, let my land be a land where Liberty - Is crowned with no false patriotic wreath, But opportunity is real, and life is free, - Equality is in the air we breathe. (There's never been equality for me, - Nor freedom in this "homeland of the free.")” By the author saying “let my land be a land where Liberty – Is crowned with no false patriotic wreath”. The......

Words: 800 - Pages: 4

Langston Hughes

...Paper Langston Hughes was a forerunner of rap music. He writes with a finesse that is a lot similar to a modern day rapper. Growing up during the Harlem Renaissance really set the stage for Langston Hughes writing. He also lived in a time where he African Americans were proud of their roots. Being around all the arts made him more inclined to write the way he did, with a rhythm. From Langston Hughes attitudes towards women, to writing about the streets he grew up on and his struggles, it is very evident that Langston Hughes was a forerunner of rap. Langston Hughes was lucky his hit his peak during the Harlem Renaissance because that gave him the opportunity to perform and publish his work in Black magazines. Langston Hughes mirrors rappers because he wrote his poetry simplistically, so people with no education could read and understand it. Langston Hughes wasn’t just a writer he was also a performer, he would regularly perform in nightclubs to gain exposure. I’m sure that if Langston Hughes were alive today he would be performing spoken word poetry in New York night clubs, or writing lyrics for today’s rappers. Langston Hughes was so drawn to the nightlife that he dropped out of school to travel and perform his poetry, just like a lot of modern rappers chasing their dreams. In the 1923 poem, “Jazzonia”, Langston Hughes sets the poem, “In a Harlem nightclub” (1140) , and is describing the jazz players inside it. Three years later, in “Lenox avenue: midnight”, Hughes......

Words: 665 - Pages: 3

America Dream

...As we all know, America is a country that value freedom so much that people can do whatever they like and whatever they want if they doesn’t destroy others’ rights and interests. In this so free and libertarian country, everyone has his or her American dream since everyone’s wants and desires is different. From my personal perspective, the American dream is different from the past to the present, because what people require is diverse. What’s more, the American dream is different from one person to another. So, it depends. Some may want more freedom, some may want more equality and some may want more personal rights. In my opinion, the basis of the American dream was in the dreams and the ideas of those who wanted to immigrate to America and in their though about what the future of America was and what America would be. America is a country full of immigrants where thousands of people immigrated to America in the past. People who desired to immigrate to America had their own thoughts and dreams of what American would become in the future and what their life would be in the future. Was it better than the situation nowadays or even worse? “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore, Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I life my lamp beside the golden door!” (Lazarus,online). As we known, there were lots of wars in Europe which resulted in many people not wanting to suffer from......

Words: 1228 - Pages: 5

History Repeats Itself Are the Words of Langston Hughes a Foreshadowing?

...opportunity of reading and learning about was Langston Hughes. His work sheds light on readers of today, on the social culture and ways of the early 1900’s to mid 1900’s. The unfortunate issue of slavery and inequality was very prevalent in the writings of Mr. Hughes. He wrote with a sense of the unfairness he was dealing with, as well as being a voice for those enduring the segregation as well. Only a few of his poems allowed us to see he had a hopeful side and would appear to write on day dream type things, like the sun and the rain. I wanted to point out on two particular poems that Hughes wrote, “Democracy” and “Let America be America Again”. In these poems many of the social indiscrepencies were obviously a huge factor in the way he felt. But as I read through these poems I could almost see a few similarities with the social issues of this present time. Although the segregation and separation was indeed more prevalent in the time of Hughes, the views he shares in these two poems are quite comparable to some of the views that society may very well have today. In let “America be America Again” Hughes says “I am the people, humble, hungry, mean---Hungry yet today despite the dream. He says also “beaten today---O Pioneers! I am the man who never got ahead, the poorest worker bartered through the years.” (Hughes, 1917-1947). Then I read the poem entitled “Democracy” were Hughes makes the statement “I tire so of hearing people say, Let things take their course.......

Words: 630 - Pages: 3

“One Friday Morning” by Langston Hughes

...“One Friday Morning” by Langston Hughes Racism and discrimination in general are things that are sadly practically inevitable. It is very unlikely that you ever will be able to find a society with no discrimination at all. Langston Hughes, who is an African-American writer, shows this in his short story “One Friday Morning”. Langston Hughes sheds light upon things like: The American Dream, equality and The Declaration of Independence. The story is written in the 1950’s which is at the same time The Civil Rights Movement just had been founded. Nancy Lee, the main character, is ‘proud of being American’. She undergoes a big development throughout the story. She gets introduced to discrimination and the fact that discriminate behavior and opinions are frequently encountered, no matter where you live. Nancy goes to a school where the students and teachers do not have any racist views: “But seldom did her high-school classmates see her as colored. (…) fitted in well with the life of the school” (p. 1 ll. 25-27). The students and teachers overlook that she is colored and see her as a normal, talented young girl. Nancy is very grateful that her classmates have received her well: “When I came here from the South a few years ago, I was not sure how you would receive me. You received me well.” (p. 7 ll. 16-18). Nancy’s school is very positive and does not have any discriminate views, therefore the name of the school: ‘George Washington high school’ may get to seem a bit ironic......

Words: 818 - Pages: 4

Langston Hughes

...Langston Hughes Langston Hughes was an American novelist, playwright, short story writer, columnist, and one of the members of the Harlem Renaissance. In his long career, he wrote an impressive collection of plays, stories, columns, and poems. His writing reflected his childhood and his widely diverse views of the world. While he is praised for his poems, his books and playwrights, though successful, have often been called racist or communist influenced. Langston was born on February 2nd 1902 to a poor family in Joplin Missouri. His ancestors include John Mercer Langston who, in 1855, was the first Black American to be elected to public office. His family also includes several past abolitionists, including his two grandfathers, who were both white men from the north. He once stated that his racial status affected his writing. This can clearly be scene in his successful, yet controversial play, “The Mulatto.” Langston first started writing in the 8th grade, but began taking his writing seriously around his high school years. Hughes attended high school in Cleveland. He was known as the class poet, however his father didn’t encourage him to write. His father’s lack of encouragement may have been because it was very hard for a Negro writer to succeed back then. However, Langston once said, “We younger Negro artists now intend to express our individual dark-skinned selves without fear or shame.” Langston initially attended college at Columbia University, however, he......

Words: 472 - Pages: 2

Langston Hughes

...Literary Criticism Forced to have Salvation Deconstruction of a Myth In Langston Hughes “Salvation” it focused on a young boy being pressured into gaining salvation. Not only was he the only child, but there were others as well. To me salvation means being saved, protected and doing God’s will. In this story I felt like he was pushed to gain salvation. His Aunt always talked to him about the importance of salvation. She also explained to him what would happen to him when he would become saved. She stated that he would see a light and something would happen inside his body. She said he could hear and feel the presence of Jesus. As a child I believe he wanted to know what that feeling was like, but don’t think he wanted that feeling on that particular day in church. I don’t even believe that some of the other children wanted that feeling either. They really didn’t understand the meaning of being saved. Although he had heard of this great feeling from his Aunt and other elder ones, he still wasn’t clear on the meaning. In paragraph 2 it says “I had heard a great many old people say the same thing and it seemed to me they ought to know”. From the information he was given by others he felt that he should go by their words. Really he should have waited and gained more knowledge of being saved. Paragraph 2 says “so I sat there calmly in the hot, crowded church, waiting for Jesus to come to me”. He was waiting to see Jesus so that he could walk up to claim his salvation. As......

Words: 350 - Pages: 2

Langston Hughes Research Essay

...Fall 2013 Biographical Research Essay Langston Hughes was born in Joplin, Missouri. He was the second child of Caroline Langston and James Hughes. After his parents' divorce his father left the country for Mexico and then Cuba to escape the racism of American society. After his divorce his mother traveled looking for work leaving Langston to be raised by his Grandmother in Lawrence, Kansas. Langston Hughes later lived with his mother again along with his new step-father in Cleveland, Ohio where he attended high school. In high school Hughes was elected to be the class poet. he felt that he was only chosen because he was African-American. "I was the victim of a stereotype. there were only two of us negro kids in the whole class and our English teacher was always stressing the importance of rhythm in poetry well, everyone knows, except us, that all negroes have rhythm, so they elected me as class poet." Hughes grew up and lived in an extremely racist time. he came from a long line of ant-slavery and also very politically active people on his mother's side. Hughes also had his own opinions on politics. like many black writers and artists of this time Hughes was drawn to the idea of communism rather than segregated America and lots of his work reflected that. his poetry was often published in the CPUSA newspaper. he was involved in many communist led organizations though was more of a sympathizer than an active participant. Hughes was accused by many of being a communist......

Words: 783 - Pages: 4

Langston Hughes

...Salvation As, a team we realized that Langston Hughes was bias when it came to his belief in faith. Langston was a young boy who was searching for things in his life and some things he had no understanding of. His father, James Nathanial Hughes, left his family and later divorced [Langston's mother], going to Cuba, and then Mexico, seeking to escape the enduring racism in the United States ("The Biography of Langston Hughes," n.d.). This was the beginning of a young boy who felt lost and confused. Hughes was looking for acceptance from a father who was in and out of his life, with little support of his dreams. “Salvation” has a tone of a young boy who was un-trusting of adults. During a church revival (refreshing, getting rid of sins, and being saved) Langston was surrounded by older members of the church, the congregations, and young lambs, who may have had prior experience of waiting on the Holy Ghost or Jesus to come save them. Langston didn’t get that experience, he felt as if he was being lied to about Jesus and what he does. This brought back memories of not being saved by his family. As, a team we can agree that as children, we are very innocent and trusting and always ready to please the "elders" because we know they are wiser. We want to be seen as good in their eyes. With this in mind, it's not hard to understand why Langston wanted so bad not to disappoint his aunt at church. Something that stuck out was when Langston says, "I'd better lie, too and say......

Words: 380 - Pages: 2

Langston Hughes

...Langston Hughes was a famous American Writer, Poet, and Novelist he was mostly known for his impact during the Harlem Renaissances. Langston Hughes career took off in 1921 when his poem “The Negro Speaks of Rivers” was published in The Crisis.” This became Hughes signature poem. Hughes works were more than just words they were hugely influential throughout this time period known as the Harlem Renaissance. Langston and many other writers in that time worked together to create the short lived magazine called “Fire” that was devoted to young negro writers. His first novel “Not Without Laughter” won the Harmon Gold Medal for literature. At this period of time before the spread of Grants, Hughes gained the support of a few private investors two years before the novel was published. Hughe wanted young black writers to be objective about their race, but not be afraid or scared to express their opinion about it. Langston set a tone throughout that era that emphasized the meaning of equality mostly throughout the Negro Race. I chose Langston Hughes as a writer for the Harlem Renaissances because he was a very influential person and leader throughout this era. He was a very famous writer and poet that wrote not only about the time but also about the emotion and deep thought that was going on in this era. I think that he is a very strong willed person and he did a lot in his life that made an impact on the world that we live in......

Words: 295 - Pages: 2

Langston Hughes

...Week 4 Assignment 4 Rough Draft James Langston Hughes: A Literary Beacon In this paper my goal is to analyze the writings of Langston Hughes by applying historical critical perspectives. In casual terms, historical criticism means to acknowledge and present the cultural and social influence found in writing based on the era it was written. Many different issues can play a role in influencing a writer’s work such as wars, social upheavals and even one’s personal experiences. I intend to show how much elements are present in Langston Hughes’ literature. Langston Hughes’ life started much differently than most African – American folks of his time. He was not born poor nor was he raised in a poverty ravaged environment, yet his writings contain many references to social struggles and the longing to be treated as equals. In my interpretation of his poetry I gather that most of his influence comes from two different sources. The first of these would be from watching the trials and tribulations of his fellow people. In his poem “Song for a Dark Girl” he writes about the brutal hanging of an African-American woman. This writing was obviously influenced by the civil unrest and violent racism that ran ramped throughout the southern United States during the first half of the twentieth century. Hughes himself most likely never experienced or witnessed such an event, but through family, friends and other sources had been exposed to such treacherous tales. The second......

Words: 513 - Pages: 3

Let America Be America Again

...Kris Kringle Prof. Klump ENG 101 07/04/2021 Let America Be America Again America was once founded on certain principles and ideas; to live a life free from tyranny, to have opportunities for self development, and for equal treatment amongst all people regardless of societal status. Langston Hughes portrays how these qualities fail to exist during a specific time in America in a poem entitled “Let America Be America Again”. The speaker opens up the poem referring to America’s dream of freedom as simply that, a “dream it used to be” (Hughes 2). During a time of racial segregation and where slavery was used to produce, the majority of colored people faced intense hardships by the hand of wealthy, white slave owners. Born not into a land of freedom, but a land of enslavement, the speaker notes that “America never was America to me” (5). It would be difficult to fathom living in a world that preached about freedom and rights while practicing the opposite based on an individual’s skin pigmentation. The earlier populations of America consisted of a variety of ethnicities, from white, black, Native Americans and immigrants from across the globe. It was widely understood that the white man was in charge, with the rest of the population to do whatever their will. In the third stanza of this poem, the speaker notes that “equality is in the air we breathe” (14). It appears that the speaker has a heightened sense of what is truly most important in this life; that we are all......

Words: 750 - Pages: 3

Langston Hughes’ “Salvation.”

...This essay examines Langston Hughes’ short story entitled “Salvation.” The aspect of the story on which this illustration essay focuses is the main character, “Langston” (Hughes 204), and the aspect of Langston’s character on which this illustration essay focuses is the way in which is character is portrayed as so significantly influenced by the circumstances in which he is enmeshed. “Salvation” is an autobiographical short story. Hughes portrays an event that occurred to him when he was close to the age of thirteen. Hughes’ “Salvation” is strikingly consistent with some of the experiments and findings of social psychology, which can leave as strong an impression on its readers as a work of fiction, such as Milgram’s teacher-learner experiment and Zimbardo’s Stanford prison experiment (Myers 138, 211-217). But a different social psychology experiment, less well-known, speaks almost exactly to Hughes’ “Salvation”: in Solomon Asch’s studies on group pressure, an experimenter working with six college student confederates (people who work for the experimenter for the purpose of deceiving the subject) are seated around a table, and the subject of the experiment sits at the sixth seat in the circle. When asked which single line on the blackboard was the same length as a group of three lines, the first five students lied and chose Line A instead of Line B. The subject of the experiment was bewildered, knowing full well that the line did not match, but after showing much anxiety,......

Words: 1262 - Pages: 6

America the Beautiful

...“Let America Be America Again” is a poem not about just one group of people, but about African Americans, immigrants, poor white people, American Indians, and any and all groups who have been left out. When Mr. Hughes says: “I am the poor white, fooled and pushed apart, I am the Negro bearing slavery’s scars. I am the red man driven from the land, I am the immigrant clutching the hope I seek— And finding only the same old stupid plan Of dog eat dog, of mighty crush the weak.” (Hughes 697) He speaking is for everyone, except the rich and privileged as we see in the line that says: Of profit, power, gain, of grab the land! Of grab the gold! Of grab the ways of satisfying need! Of work the men! Of take the pay! Of owning everything for one’s own greed (Hughes 697) It is important for us all to remember this land is for everyone, not just the privileged. Reading this poem and passing it on to others is a good way to remember what this country initially stood for and what most people are still fighting for. At one time America stood for liberty, equality, and the land of the free. When Mr. Hughes states “Let it be the dream it used to be” and “America never was America to me” we understand that he never has felt America was equal or free, but we also see that Mr. Hughes wants America to fulfill the promises of freedom, liberty, and equality. I enjoyed this part of the poem because it reminded me of why people came to this country and still come to this......

Words: 772 - Pages: 4

Langston Hughes

... Langston Hughes and The Weary Blues Langston Hughes was recognized as a significant literary figure during the 1920s, a period known as the "Harlem Renaissance" because of the number of emerging black writers. After graduating from high school, Hughes went to Mexico to visit his father, in hopes to convince his father that he should pay for his college education at Columbia University in New York City. On his way to Mexico on the train, while thinking about his past and his future, Hughes wrote the famous poem, "The Negro Speaks of Rivers." After arriving in Mexico, the tension between Hughes and his father was strong. Hughes wanted to be a writer; his father wanted him to be an engineer. After Hughes sent some of his poetry to what was known as the “Brownies” Book and “Crisis” magazines, it was accepted. his father was impressed enough to agree to pay for a year at Columbia University. It was there at Columbia University were he begin releasing more poems that he had written. Hughes embraced crafting blues music into his poetry because it expressed the worries of the common man in a simple and direct manner. Blues songs feature heavy repetition, and singers often seem to be laughing and crying at the same time. One of his best works was the poem “The Weary Blues” which came in first place in a section of a literary contest in an Opportunity magazine published in 1925. The title itself gives an example on how Hughes wanted to give the reader......

Words: 1157 - Pages: 5