ENG 104 Paper #2 A History Lesson - ENG 104 A History...

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ENG 104 10-11-2012 A History Lesson on Blacks On episode six of “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air”, Will and Carlton get wrongfully arrested for car theft because they are black. As the episode comes to an end, Will and Carlton have an argument over whether it was a mistake or if it was discrimination as to why they were arrested, leading to a powerful realization for Carlton life is unjust for people of color. In the past, African-Americans were referred to as "negroes". Negroes had experienced а lot of distress during those past years. In the poem, “Negro” by Langston Hughes, a famous African-American poet, wrote of various events that the common African American had been forced to do throughout the history of all African Americans and the hardships that they have faced. The way “Negro” is written is simple, yet has a complex meaning. Hughes identifies himself twice in simplistic diction by merely stating, “I am а Negro” (Hughes lines 1,17) and then describing the events the common negro has gone through in history in between the first and last stanza. By using terms such as “slave,” “worker,” “singer,” and “victim” (Hughes, lines 4, 7, 10, 14) Hughes makes it obvious that the life of a negro was not a pleasant one, but he doesn’t elaborate throughout his poem on why these terrible events occur. In doing this, Hughes is letting the reader create the story behind it. He uses recognized landmarks that are familiar to us to describe points of his interest such as “[building the] pyramids,” “[making the] mortar for the Woolworth
Building,” and “[making] ragtime [music]” (Hughes, 5, 6, 13). The diction reflects his tone as well. His poem is direct and straight to the point. Hughes uses repetition of “I am a Negro” (Hughes 1&17) in the first and last stanza to begin and close his poem. The first time that Hughes says it, it can be interpreted as his pride in being a negro. It can be taken positively as if he is proud of being from Africa since there is no context and he is merely stating something. But as the poem continues, these dreadful events appear to wither down his spirit. The last stanza, though it may be the same as the first, provides a completely opposite meaning.

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