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Revised Assignment 2

Revised Assignment 2

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Published by Brittney Grubb

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Published by: Brittney Grubb on May 06, 2011
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 Grubb 1Brittney GrubbProfessor HallEnglish 210028 February 2011Finding Freedom in the Poetry of Langston HughesPoets commonly have a specific theme that r 
 
uns throughout not only through aseries of poems, but through all of their pieces. Langston Hughes specifically directs hisreaders¶ minds toward tormenting situations that African American faced during the 20
th
 century, slavery being the most prominent, but also the lack of respect they were shownthrough the way many of them were abused and sometimes killed. While bringing light tosuch oppression through his pieces, Hughes seeks to offer a sense of hope to the AfricanAmericans to come after him. He does this by using common elements, such as rhyme,tone, imagery, symbolism, and a particular speaker, to convey a sense of freedom andhope from the enslaved past that many African Americans find it hard to forget andescape from in their daily lives. Reaching an audience of any age or racial background,Hughes calls for social justice in his readers, and relieves them from the stresses and hurtof being born into a world that chooses to judge people based on their ancestors. Thisfreedom is achieved directly in his poems
 Dream Variations
,
Cross
, and
 I,Too
.
 Dream Variations
has an
abcb
rhyming pattern, which allows for a steady andmellow flow throughout the entire poem. In doing this, Hughes is suggesting a certainmonotony of every day life that he is experiencing through his waiting for night to come.³To fling my arms wide- In some place of the sun- To whirl and to dance, Till the whiteday is done.´ (lines 1-4) This is a dream that he has had long enough for it to be easily
Comment [BG1]:
S
o I kind of found atheme?
S
ort of..
Comment [BG2]:
That doesn¶t even makesense..
Comment [BG3]:
S
hould be plural.
 
 Grubb 2told, smooth and flowing. Abruptly the pattern is changed, though, right in the middle of the poem, with the line, ³That is my dream!´ (line 9) Following this is the same
abcb
  pattern the reader had become accustomed to previously: the mellow, easing rhythm thatslows everything back down. The brief change of rhythm that Hughes uses in that linehighlights the lack of contentment in life that one faces from being enslaved andcontrolled by people whom they should be considered equal too. The line is exclaimed,though, giving a sense of hopefulness and empowerment, a step towards that day whenthe African American race is no longer oppressed, and an assurance that such a day willcome.The tone of 
 Dream Variations
is one of serenity and peace. ³To fling my armswide,´ (line 1) and ³To whirl and to dance- Till the white day is done,´ (line 3-4) as wasquoted earlier, consists of light, flowing words. ³Whirling´ triggering the imaginationand causing the reader to reflect on times when stress was at its lowest and ³to dance´was the overflow of joy from that point in their life. This structure instills a yearning for freedom from black stereotypes and mistreatment.Imagery is used powerfully in
 Dream Variations
by the combinations of words.³Beneath a tall tree,´ (line 6) ³In the face of the sun,´ (line 11) ³Night coming tenderly,´(line 14) all of these create immediate tranquility because of the cultural value peoplehave associated with nature on purity and rest. This, in turn, brings about a sense of freedom, as no amount of worry or fear is associated with the darkness mentioned later inthe poem. It, instead, even portrays darkness with rest, with statements such as, ³..rest atcool evening,´ (line 5) and ³Rest at pale evening...´ (line 14) This beauty associated withnighttime is brought together at the end of the poem in the lines ³Night coming tenderly-
 
 Grubb 3Black like me.´ (line 16-17). Here, Hughes connects rest with darkness, and darknesswith his own flesh tone. He personifies the entirety of that day in a way that relieves thereader from the very thought of their ancestor¶s battles or any battles that they may cometo face because of the color of their skin or the skin of their ancestors.
S
ymbolism is often created in unison with both tone and imagery. In DreamVariations, resting ³beneath a tall tree´ (line 6) is directly symbolic of just simply beingat ease and at peace with one¶s life, in this case the speaker¶s, once equal treatment has been firmly established between races and the speaker can live and prosper as he or sheso desires. Peace, and especially equality, again relate back to the importance of freedomto this speaker, and the point he or she is trying to make throughout the entire poem.The speaker can frequently be mysterious to some, and can be associated with acertain personality and gender immediately without even considering the texts. In thecase of Dream Variations, it seems that there is no specificity as to what gender thespeaker is, nor any form of emphasis of its importance as to which one it is. This, rather,focuses on race. The last line of the poem is, ³Black like me,´ (line 17) telling the viewer,in simplistic terms, that the speaker is an African American. Rather than define the themeof the poem, it rather reinforces what the other elements have set in stone as the theme, by explaining why the speaker desires freedom so strongly, and what type of freedomthey may want. With this clue, the reader is able to associate the freedom with a level of equality, most likely compared to white people, as is hinted at in line 4, ³Till the whiteday is done,´ (line 4) as opposed to some sort of unresolved freedom we may get from awhite speaker: freedom from a bad relationship, or jail, etcetera.

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