Poem Explication: "Let America Be America Again" By Langston Hughes Essay Samples
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In the poem “Let America be America Again”, Hughes juxtaposes the idea of America as the land of freedom and opportunity against his plight in it as an individual and as a black person. In this regard, Hughes speaks for the entire black population and what America has meant to them.
Essentially, Hughes’ central theme is that the real life of the persona as an example makes a mockery of the idea of it. The main stanzas express the idea and the persona’s true feelings and attitude are expressed in the italicized interjections.
The interjection after of the first stanza summarizes the persona’s attitude. The persona says, America never was America to me. The persona rejects the idea of America as a pioneer on the plain, a character “seeking a home where he himself is free”. Instead, America has remained a dream, a beautiful but unrealistic reality.
The real America has ‘never’ been the land of great love or where tyrants cannot bully the weak. Neither has it been a land of liberty and equality. For the persona (speaking for Hughes), there has never been equality.
However, that Hughes’ speaks for the black population cannot be mistaken. But then he also speaks for all. He speaks for white people (I am the poor white, fooled and pushed apart), American Indians forced out of their lands and all races of immigrants. He speaks for all generations (young and old), all workers, among others. In other words, while it is only natural that Hughes is drawn to speak for the black population, the poem is essentially a mouthpiece for those who have been pushed to the peripheries of American society.
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