, Research Paper
Taking a closer look at America
“Let America be the dream dreamers dreamed- Let it be that great strong land of love where never kings connive nor tyrants scheme that any man be crushed by one above.” Let yourself wonder and think back to your first ancestor to cross the gigantic, chilling seas risking all, to start over in America. This is what they would be desperately wanting and repeatedly saying to themselves. This captured sence of reality is what drew me to write about this poem. The desperate and anxious emotions that appear throughout its stanza gives the poem its ancient background of how America was found. From people searching for a free and fair world to them just looking for a little peace and chance. The chance to start a wealthy and prosperous life with the fortune and opportunity they all have come to hear about.
Within the first stanza, the author imagines back to a time when he had dreamt of a land so beautiful and caring in which he could start over and is free to live his life as he wishes. The author though, has already realized his false hope since reaching the place in his dreams, America. It has turned out to be nothing like he had anticipated or hoped for. He asks, “let America be America again”, pleading for the America he had once dreamed of. He next describes the difference between England and America (above) where kings can not govern you as they wish and people of a higher social status cannot push you around. He feels he is deceived by this freedom and power for there is still so much prejudice and discrimination. The reader realizes exactly how beautiful this man’s hope for America is in the line; “equality is in the air we breathe.” He only meant for a world of harmony and compromise, where possession was not nearly as important as the man next to you. He continues on that the equality and freedom were still just that illusion that he once imagined.
The poem then takes an interesting turn in tone when a question is asked. The author uses the perspective of the reader who is hesitant to take what he says for truth. This person asks, ” who are you that mumbles in the dark,” inquiring that there are many people who have become satisfied with America. Hughes speaks for those people whom have suffered for America to become what it has. Although these people suffered, he goes on to mention the America will still follow the same ways of the old land, “where the mighty crush the weak,” and once again equality is forgotten. After leading the reader to see how others were never granted that which America was to give, he describes how and why this still occurs. He speaks of a young man, whom is stuck in the endless chain of power and greed. People are blinded by wealth and constantly want instead of considering what others need.
His identity again changes in the seventh stanza when he portrays the men still serfs to the kings in the old world. Those who needed America to be what they dreamt, because it was what gave them hope every day they awoke. (I’m a poet too ya’know) These people had such faith in the new world; all their fears soon met with their valiant display of crossing the unknown in search of their dreams, only to be betrayed.
“O’ let America be America again- The land that has never been yet- And yet must be.”
This line shows the desperate need for a land where every man is free. For if America will not be it, there is no other place in the world that could become it. Therefore, there is only one chance, but it is fading rapidly. Call me what you will, but the hope of freedom will not surrender, he exclaims. He adds that we must take back America from those who leech off others and only succeed from others misfortune. Hughes most important line throughout the poem is when he swears America will be what he has dreamed. “For it is an ever-living seed which lies deep in the heart of me,” he writes. In this line, the author shows his real strength and determination. Even if he doesn’t live to see America become what he wishes, he knows it has already existed, inside of him. As long as people realize and trust in this, there will always be hope. This is one of the main ideas I think Hughes would have liked the reader to understand. He ends the poem the same way the declaration of Independence reads, “we the people,” signifying unity and asking us to redeem our beautiful land, and make America again!
Looking past the text in the poem and glimpsing on its structure, there are a lot unpredictable and erratic patterns. In the beginning, Hughes seems to have fairly regular quatrains with a refrain in between the three of them. This was purposely done to set a mood and to let the readers full attention reflect on his plead. After each convincing stanza, there was his disheartening refrain, to let you ponder whether or not America is what you want it to be. Then the question is announced, and irregular stanzas set in. He now would like you to forget about what he has talked about before, and now put yourself in the lives of these men who worked so hard for America. He asks you to realize why America isn’t what it should be. Through four irregular stanzas the refrains stop to allow you to grasp their sence of hope and courage, and not to include his solitude. After these stanzas the refrain reappears, showing his incomprehension of where things went wrong. The second to last stanza seems to stand out from the rest since there aren’t many words per line. He wrote these lines very plainly and even announces just that. It shows what he asks and writes about is not difficult to understand or complicated in any way, but so easy to correct.
Alliteration and assonance played an important role throughout the poem. The author played around a lot with different words that sounded similar or used a vowel or consonant to attach words. This occurred within the phrases such as “pushed-apart”, “slavery’s scars”, and “Poland’s plain”. Although there seems to be no particular rhyme scheme he does play around with slant rhyme while also using exact or no rhyme as he chooses. He used many words and phrases over and over, sometimes even in the same sentence, seemingly to embed it into your head. Even though, the poem has an incredible flow to it, which probably can be credited to all of its characteristics.