Expericence Determination

Expericence Determination - Samaan 1 Adam Samaan Professor...

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Adam Samaan Professor Howell UW-20-45 17 October 2010 Experience “Hughes’ efforts to create poetry that truly evoked the spirit of Black America involved a resolution of conflicts centering around the problem identity” (Smith 358). James Mercer Langston Hughes began his career in the 1920s when race was an incredible issue of concern for him. He focuses on his ideas of racial discrimination as well as the attitude of his own identity specifically from his own background. Hughes achieved this level of prominence through reflecting realities from life experiences both celebrated and devastating. His work is very unique and distinguishes him from other poets because he had no intentions to confuse the reader with hidden meanings. Hughes stated, “I believe the that poetry should be direct comprehensible, and the epitome of simplicity.” The work inspired may come off as harsh, but his technique puts his feelings out there for the reader to understand the hard time he had while growing up. Throughout his entire life he was faced with racism and prejudice along with historical events such as the Great Depression and the Harlem Renaissance, which contributes to the significance in his works. Throughout Langston Hughes’ life he was in search for an identity, his experiences and the people around him helped make his writing influential, which gave him the opportunity to discover his true identity. James Mercer Langston Hughes one of the most original and versatile of twentieth-century black writers; he was born of February 1 st 1902, in Joplin Missouri Samaan 1
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(Cooper 4). The day young Hughes was born, his father James Nathaniel Hughes abandoned the family and headed to Mexico because a new law prohibited him from becoming a lawyer, which he studied tirelessly for. This forced his mother, Carrie Langston Hughes to search for full-time work and had to send Langston to live under the caring arm of his grandmother, Mary Sampson Patterson Leary (Cooper 14). Hughes’ grandmother “helped inspire in him a devotion to the cause of social justice” (Rampersad 55), for her first husband, Lewis Sheridan Leary died fighting at Harpers Ferry under John Brown and her second husband became a fierce abolitionist. Living with his grandmother, Hughes’ adopted the importance of the fight for equality. Mary was given the “ bloody shawl” that Sheridan had on when he died. “ Young Langston would often see it draped around her shoulders while she rocked in her favorite chair and told him heroic stories, and on the chilly nights she covered little Langston with the shawl” (Berry 16). “October 16” came about several years later in which Hughes wrote, “Perhaps/You will recall John Brown/Went to shoot your way to freedom.” Not only did Hughes incorporate childhood memories into the poem, he vividly demonstrates poor black life. This event because of its significance in American history makes the poem “October 16” much more influential. John Brown’s raid of
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Expericence Determination - Samaan 1 Adam Samaan Professor...

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