Shattering The Darkness Essay, Research Paper
SHATTERING THE DARKNESS
In the poem “As I Grew Older ” by Langston Hughes, a young man is thinking about his goals and that he cannot achieve them because of racial prejudice. The theme of the poem is that prejudice is used to keep people from accomplishing their dreams. Hughes expresses this idea by using imagery, anaphora, and a symbol.
Imagery helps Hughes to show how prejudice is used to keep people from accomplishing their goals. In the beginning of the poem, Hughes talks about a dream he has had and says, “In front of [Me]/ Bright like the sun/ [My] dream.” The sun represents his dream. The image of the bright sun suggests how important and big his dream is. In the middle of the poem, as he grows older, he talks about a wall saying, “And then the wall rose Dimming, Hiding, The light of my dream.” The image of the wall represents the prejudice coming “Between [Him] and [His] dream.” At the end of the poem, the point of view changes from first person to second person because the poet is asking for help to break the wall. He wants “To break this shadow/Into a thousand lights of sun, Into a thousand whirling dreams/Of sun!” This image shows how he needs to help overcome the wall in order to reach his goal.
Hughes uses anaphora to show that prejudice is used to keep people from accomplishing their dreams. In the beginning of the poem, Hughes talks about the obstacle between him and his dream as he says, “And then the wall rose,/ Rose slowly, Slowly.” This repetition of the word “slowly” shows that when he was young, he did not notice this wall was rising, but now as he is older he notices that the wall has grown over time. Now there is this great wall there and he realizes the difficulty of overcoming it. Throughout the poem, Hughes says, “My dream.” He says this in multiple sentences. He says, “my dream” in “The light of my dream”,” No longer the light of my dream before me”, and “find my dream.” In each one of these quotes “My dream” appears because his dream is most important to him. In the first quote, he uses “my dream” to show what his dream is. In the second, quote it is used to show his dream being destroyed because of the wall. In the last quote, it is used to show that he needs help to overcome the wall and accomplish his dream.
Hughes uses a symbol to show how prejudice is used to keep people from accomplishing their dreams. First, Hughes uses the word “dream” to symbolize his goal. As he is young, he says, “In front of me, /Bright like the sun—/My dream.” He is young and ambitious and he is aware of his goals. As he grows older the poet creates another symbol using the word “wall” to mean the prejudice. Then the poet says, “And then the wall rose Between me and my dream. /Rose slowly, slowly, /Dimming, /Hiding, /the light of my dream.” Now, the poet sees this wall there blocking his dream.