Hughes Langston and the Harlem Renaissance
Hughes Langston used to be a courageous man who had the guts to tackle head on, the biggest troubles of the world as seen in his two poems I, Too and Theme for English B. Having grown in a world of racism where the blacks were subjected to familiar and massive discrimination and instead of conceding defeat in desperation wallowing in massive adversity, Hughes made a selection of leading the Harlem Renaissance. A group of prolific authors consisting of black artists and writers based in New York City whose foremost motive was to fuel the Civil Rights movement.
The Magic Behind Hughes' Poems
Thus when Hughes narrates his poems, he does so in an individual's factor of view, but the battle as seen in his works is connected to an entire race. The magic behind his poems does not lie just in the issues of Civil Rights upheavals presented in a professionally crafted nature; the magic goes beyond the question of racial composition: It applies to anyone who has found themselves in a wonderment of their identity and life.
Similarities and Differences in the Poems
While some similarities may exist between the poems I, Too and Theme for English B both of which were composed by Hughes Langston, the differences are striking. A detailed analysis of the two poems reveals openly the points of agreements and conflicts about the stylistic devices employed by the writer as he narrates his poems.
Hughes' Standpoint on Civil Rights
Having been a notable figure in the Harlem Renaissance the poems of Hughes not only fueled the African-American culture but also sought to generate attention to the predicament of the African-American repression and injustices. His poems the Theme for English B and I, Too both show his political standpoint regarding the treatment and equal Civil Rights of the black race in the direction of the law for the African Americans.
The Use of First Person Voice
The technique of using first person voice is employed in both poems. However the use of "I" is different in both to fulfill his different motives and purposes in the poems.
I, Too - Representation of the African-American Race
In I, Too the Persona is not a person as it may be perceived. The "I" is a representation of the entire African-American race. The phrase I am the darker brother in place of We are the darker brother does not come by accident. The "I" connotation instead of "We" is that of an individual, outnumbered and defenseless. The persona says that they have been sent to eat in the Kitchen, strengthening the one for the mentality of many as the writer wants it to be conveyed. "They" and "We" gives a more united connotation stronger than "I" (Langston 31-36).
Theme for English B - Individual Student Perspective
In the poem, I connote isolation and weakness of the African race In the USA. On the other hand, in Theme for English B poem, the use of "I" is different. In this particular case the "I" denote an individual student. The "I" passes a message of singularity and strength.
The Persona in the poem is an African-American student who engages his teacher in his assignment in an even pointed intelligent dialogue. The first person point of view is used by the writer to intensify the effects of the narration. Through the use of words like "them" and "I" "You" and "Me," the Persona can differentiate between his teacher and himself. It is a perfect juxtaposition of two individuals (Langston 409-10).
The use of the "I" puts the Persona in a commanding position while highlighting the difference between the teacher and the speaker. A source of pride and a sign of strength is seen by the fact that a black individual is making critical remarks of his teacher by writing something controversial in such an eloquent way.
Fueling the Civil Rights Movement
The author's motive to fuel civil rights movement appears efficient since it uses a compelling means to get to its destination. In both poems, the writer addresses the issue of racial discrimination by the white against the blacks.
Even though the use of first person voice is employed in both poems, they use the voice differently to convey different meanings. Nonetheless, the plight of blacks is brought to attention, albeit in different manners. Equality and civil rights are fueled by both poems which were written at a time when racial discrimination seemed to be at its peak.
Hughes, Langston. "The Negro Artist and the Racial Mountain." 1926. The Collected Works of Langston Hughes 9 (1773): 31-36.
Hughes, Langston. "Theme for English B." The collected poems of Langston Hughes (1951): 409-10.