Poem analysis worksheet
Research the poet and
context to learn more
about them when they
How does learning more
about the poet and the
change or influence your
understanding of the
He was an American poet, social activist,
novelist, playwright, and columnist from
Joplin, Missouri. He moved to New York City
as a young man, where he made his career.
One of the earliest innovators of the
then-new literary art form called jazz poetry.
This historical background helped me to
enhance my perception of how much he
didn’t want to repeat old models and how
strong he was to create his own style of
writing and protesting.
Another important aspect of his trajectory was
the fact that while at Columbia in 1921,
Hughes managed to maintain a B+ grade
average. However, he left in 1922 because of
racial prejudice among students and teachers.
He was attracted to the African-American
people and neighborhood of Harlem, and
continued writing poetry as Harlem was a
center of vibrant cultural life.
Knowing that Langston Hughes dropped out
his college due to prejudice made me learn
how much damage one can suffer due to a
non-acceptance of a group.
How is resilience
demonstrated by this
Resilience is brightly shown on this poem as
he kept creating and demonstrating his
ability to overcome old schools of thoughts.
Once again, despite all the hardship found on
his pathway, he spoke up and his art found a
way to thrive over those concealed behind the
mask of oppression..
Compare your poem to
Audre Lorde’s poem “A
Litany for Survival.”
How are they similar?
As she mentioned “I started writing because I
had a need inside me to create something
that was not there”. And this search to create
something different is deeply related to the
poem "I look at the world" as the former also
wants a different world that is not there (yet).
During several passages Audre Lorde also
express all the damaged caused by
oppression, as in We are afraid whether the
sun rises or sets / we are full or hungry /
we have love or not / we speak or stay silent.
As Hughes also expressed that “Nobody’ll
dare” to oppress another person again.