Langston Hughes Essay, Research Paper
What was the dream that brought our ancestors to America? It was rebirth, the craving for men to be born again, the yearning for a second chance. With all of these ideas comes the true American dream Freedom. This is the condition in which a man feels like a human being. It is the purpose and consequence of rebirth. Throughout the life of Langston Hughes he presented ideas in his writings that help to define his perception of the American dream.In beginning, Langston Hughes was born on February 1, 1902 in Joplin, Missouri. His father was James Nathaniel Hughes, a man who studied law but was unable to take the examination for the bar because he was black. His mother was Carrie Hughes, a woman who studied at the University of Kansas in an ongoing struggle to earn a living outside of domestic labor. Langston s father left home to live in Cuba and then Mexico to free himself from the Jim Crow laws and Segregation.Hughes then went to live with his grandmother in Lawrence, Kansas until he was thirteen. His grandmother, Mary Sampson Patterson Leary Langston, was very prominent in the African American community of Lawrence. Her first husband was killed at Harper s Ferry while fighting with John Brown; her second husband, Hughes grandfather, was a prominent politician in Kansas during the Reconstruction. During the time that he lived with his grandmother, however, she was old and poor resulting in little to eat and forcing them to rent out part of their small house. Unable to give Langston the attention he needed and his feelings of hurt and rejection by both his mother and father caused him to grow up very insecure and unsure of himself. In the second grade Langston was introduced to books and soon became fascinated with them and found it as an escape from his world into the wonderful world inside of them. At the age of thirteen Hughes went to live with his mother in Lincoln, Illinois and then Cleveland, Ohio where he went to high school. It was in Lincoln that Hughes wrote his first poem after being elected class poet by his fellow classmates. Hughes, the only black at his school, said that the only reason that he was elected was that his peers felt that he must have a good sense of rhythm because of the color of his skin. This position of class poet sparked Hughes love for poetry and was the start of his life as a poet.
Hughes soon began to write poetry quite frequently and he kept it all in a journal secret from other people. Langston Hughes is most famous for his poetry yet he also had a number of different careers throughout his lifetime. He was an author, poet, playwright, song lyricist, and lecturer starting in 1921. In the years of 1920-1921 he was an English teacher in Mexico. In the years of 1949-1950 Hughes can be credited with founding community theatres in major cities across the United States such as Harlem, Los Angeles, and Chicago. In following, what is the American Dream? When asked, this question would receive a variety of responses, yet the main response would probably be freedom. The denotative meaning of the American dream is given in the Random House Dictionary:1.The ideals of freedom, equality, and opportunity traditionally held to be available to every American. 2. A life of personal happiness and material comfort as traditionally sought by individuals in the U.S. (66) Many Americans persist in believing that America is the greatest country in the world and that man is basically good and can be better and has the opportunity to fulfill his productive capabilities. The belief that America should offer equal opportunity to all men is a fundamental part of the American dream. (Werner XI)