Langston Hughes Essay, Research Paper
When writing, one may take into consideration his or her surroundings such as living environment and for family and friends. One may reflect on experiences from the past and present. All these things together form the writer s style. Because of traveling overseas and living in Harlem, Langston Hughes used illustrative words and different musical rhythms in his poems and stories to show the life of Negroes.
Born in Joplin, Missouri, in 1902, Langston Hughes life begun. In high school, he began his writing of poetry and short fiction. In 1920, after graduating from high school, Hughes wrote poems and prose pieces for publication in the Crisis, the magazine of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (Discovering Authors). He continues writing poetry, experimenting with language, form, and rhythms reminiscent of the blues and jazz compositions he had heard (Discovering Authors). After dropping out of college his freshman year, Hughes moved to Harlem with his mother. He published a few more poems in the Crisis. These poems had some type of beat or swing that gave the poems more interest and feeling. He later went overseas to France and Italy. After returning to America, he worked many jobs and still made time for his writings.
In 1926, Hughes published his first book, The Weary Blues, a collection of poems that reflect the frenzied atmosphere of Harlem nightlife (Discovering Authors). It is said most of the poems in this book approximate the phrasing and meter of blues music while bringing to light the frenzied, hedonistic atmosphere of Harlem s nightclubs and speakeasies and comment[ing] upon racial conflict (Discovering Authors). Though questioned on his writing style because of use of jazz and blues
techniques and vividness about Negro life, Hughes continued writing and publishing poetry, short stories, and essays. Hughes published over ten books, which includes his poems, short stories, essays, and plays. He was the first black American to earn his living solely from his writing and lectures until the time of his death, he spread his message humorously though always seriously to audiences throughout the country, having read his poetry to more people (possibly) than any other American poet (Discovering Authors).
Hughes adds life to his writings that is often recognized. He stresses different syllables in each line and varies the length of each line [while] model[ing] his poetry s rhythms on musical forms such as jazz, ragtime, swing, blues, boogie-woggie, and bebop (Poetry for Students). He has no set rhyme scheme or pattern. He often wrote in the language that anybody who had the ability to read would understand. This was done to show the world the life of Negroes; consequently, it made him known not only to poetry lovers or college grads but also to average and below average individuals. His writings compare unanswered questions such as What happens to a dream deferred to familiar or normal conditions of Negroes such as Does it sink like rotten meat? . He also paints a picture in your head with his illustrative words like in the poem Harlem where he puts stress on deterioration-drying, rotting, festering, souring-on loss of essential natural quality) (Poetry for Students). Because of him doing this, one may enjoy the poem more; thus, he/she should have a better understanding of the purpose of the piece.
No writer has better interpreted and portrayed Negro life, especially in the urban North, than Langston Hughes (Smalley 1044). He has showed life through his poems,
stories, plays, and any other type of writing because he creates his character from life (Jemie 71). He continuously used music rhythms to write his poems. Perfectly choosing the words in his writings, Hughes is able to paint an image in the mind. The dramatic [as well as the poetic and other writing] world of Langston Hughes is a quite different world from that of any of playwright and the discovery of that world is, in itself, an entertaining, wonderful, and enlightening experience [which is caused by Langston Hughes unique writing style using illustrative words and different musical rhythms to show