Strength for Today and Bright Hope for Tomorrow

Volume 10 : 4 April 2010
ISSN 1930-2940

Managing Editor: M. S. Thirumalai, Ph.D.
Editors: B. Mallikarjun, Ph.D.
         Sam Mohanlal, Ph.D.
         B. A. Sharada, Ph.D.
         A. R. Fatihi, Ph.D.
         Lakhan Gusain, Ph.D.
         K. Karunakaran, Ph.D.
         Jennifer Marie Bayer, Ph.D.
         S. M. Ravichandran, Ph.D.



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The Reality in Langston Hughes' Poems

Nila Ekanath, Ph.D.


This paper discusses the real depiction of society in the Harlem poems of Langston Hughes. The introduction deals with the origin of slavery and the beginning of Harlem Renaissance. The African Americans begin to understand their significance in America. The Black writers of the twentieth century started to express this newborn feeling of having significance in society, the need for social equivalence, protesting against injustice, wanting to go in search of African roots and the feeling of belongingness in America. Langston Hughes especially, among many other writers took to freezing history in the lines of his poems. The most remarkable pieces of work are the poems that deal with the happenings in Harlem.

Right at the beginning of his literary career Hughes was determined to weave his literary works purely from human experience as he saw it and what he perceived in real life. The element of History resounds so strongly in the poems that deal with Harlem. Harlem is the international Black capital. Hughes observed the surging folk life in the haunts of the habitues of Beale Street or at the common places on Rampart Street, and the active and the creative imagination of Hughes was busy with highlights of the Great Migration to Harlem.

Hughes formed his subject matter based on the misfortunes of lovers, personal sorrow involving death, poverty, loneliness, oppression, alienation and other grief. The poems sound the sorrow of the Black folk. Sometimes a simple crucial experience comes to life through a dramatic picture appealing to imagination. The paper discusses this sociological approach and Langston Hughes's ability to picture life in Harlem in the realm of his poems.

Literary Works Based Only on Human Experience

Right at the beginning of his literary career Hughes was determined to weave his literary works purely from human experience as he saw it and what he perceived in real life. Realism in literature is an "attempt to describe human behaviour and surroundings or to represent figures and objects exactly as they act or appear in life". Hughes has an avowed concern for human conditions, and especially the African American condition. He drew liberally from the rich heritage of the Black people and dwelt on the African-American culture, aesthetics, feelings, emotions, attitudes and their folk life. Confronting the real condition of the African Americans has a cathartic or a therapeutic effect on the poet.

The History of the Blacks in America

The History of the Blacks in America started in the sixteenth century when a Dutch ship brought the first set of slaves to the shores of America from Africa. This reminds the words of Wilberforce who wrote "There is something shocking in the idea of our unfortunate fellow creatures in captivity and exile, exposed to public view and sold like a herd of cattle" (quoted in.Nelson 8).

After years of slavery, struggle and misery, the African Americans started to get an awakening and cry out for emancipation. Pieces of writings started to appear and most often the subjects dealt with were the suffering of the Blacks under slavery. The themes prevailed on the social and cultural conditions of the marginalised group and the African-American Diaspora.

The struggle of the African-Americans for emancipation finally concluded in the proclamation of Emancipation in 1863. The thirteenth amendment to the American constitution appeared in 1865 which confirmed the abolition of slavery. The fourteenth amendment was brought in 1868 and this granted citizenship to the free slave and the fifteenth which came in 1870 gave them their right to vote and defended them against restrictive legislation. But many devices adopted to unofficially curb the African-Americans from rising up to take their rights or reach high posts and the activities of the Ku Klux Klan which worked against the Blacks pushed the marginalised community to a condition where it silently suffered racial segregation.

This is only the beginning part of the article. PLEASE CLICK HERE TO READ THE ARTICLE IN PRINTER-FRIENDLY VERSION.

The Influence of First Language Grammar (L1) on the English Language (L2) Writing of Tamil School Students: A Case Study from Malaysia | Economic Hardship and Emotional Humiliation in Mulk Raj Anand's Untouchable | Effects of Using Urdu Dictionary as a Teaching Tool for Teaching Urdu in Urdu Language Classroom in Pakistan | Acoustic Correlates of Stress in Mizo, a Tonal Language | Racism and the American Dream in John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men | Stimulating Language Strategies through Thinking - Help for Slow Learners | Masses as the True Makers of History - Analysis of the Play The Trial of Dedan Mimathi | Personal and Labour Market Environment Factors in English for Employability: A Case Study of KSA | A Study of the Reported Language Skill Development Strategies of the Student Teachers in Pakistan | Strategies for Communication Skills Development | Schema in Learning | Achieving Professional Goals: Use of a Mixed Discourse in Interviews | The Reality in Langston Hughes' Poems | Techniques to Teach Vocabulary to Regional Medium Students | Life History of Buddha as Reflected in Hermann Hesse's Siddhartha | Technique as Voyage of Discovery: A Study of the Techniques in Dante's Paradiso | Some Gaps in the Current Studies of Reading in Second/Foreign Language Learning | Unmasking Student Competence: Using Computers to Teach Writing | Feminist Literary Criticism | Amy Tan and Chinese American Literature | An Acoustic Analysis of Glottal Fricative [h] at Word Medial and Final Positions:
A Comparison between Regular and Non-regular Urdu Speakers of Pakistan
| Teaching Writing Skills | Self-esteem of Institutionalised Elderly Women in Coimbatore - A Case History | An Assessment on Women's Work Participation and Economic Equality | Economics of Crime : A Comparative Analysis of the Socio-Economic Conditions of Convicted Female and Male Criminality in Selected Prisons in Tamil Nadu | A PRINT VERSION OF ALL THE PAPERS OF APRIL 2010 ISSUE IN BOOK FORMAT | HOME PAGE of April 2010 Issue | HOME PAGE | CONTACT EDITOR

Nila Ekanath, Ph.D.
Department of English
Sree Narayanaguru College
Coimbatore 641105
Tamilnadu, India

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