Interpreting Langston Hughes

Essay by jasmo77University, Bachelor's November 2002

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Interpreting Langston Hughes

Langston Hughes' haunting descriptions of the African people's struggle for freedom paints a lasting image in one's mind of the price paid for a single strand of freedom and what is meant to this oppressed ethnicity. From the dark whispers of Silhouette to the stern rising words of Democracy, Hughes releases his soul in a cry to awaken the African spirit and inspire thought in the reader. Through his selective choice of words Hughes leaves many interpretations open to the reader and allows his message to flow.

Hughes words flow compassionately in almost pleading tone when he speaks in Silhouette. "Southern gentle lady, do not swoon. They've just hung a black man, in the dark of the moon"(1738). One may see "swoon" and have different opinions of what this word means. Hughes may be saying to the women; do not tempt my African brother because both know the outcome.

Being near white women was forbidden during this era and Hughes notes, "How Dixie protects its white womanhood"(1738). Any physical relation between an African American man and white woman would end in certain death, as there were no questions asked when involving an African American and a white woman. Some may see Hughes not chastising the white women but respectfully asking, "Southern gentle lady, be good, be good"(1738). When one looks at the words "be good, be good" there may be a sense of pleading in his manner or respectfully

The final words of "Silhouette", spoken so gently, change to fire and passion in Hughes "Democracy". As one will see, a display of spirited demand for the dream He and his African people so desire, spark to life in "Democracy"(1739). The spirit of W.E. DuBois is alive in Hughes, as he no longer wishes to be...