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Harlem by Langston Hughes
Transcript of Harlem by Langston Hughes
Langston Hughes Here on the edge of hell
Remembering the old lies,
The old kicks in the back,
The old "Be patient"
They told us before.
Sure, we remember.
Now when the man at the corner store
Says sugar's gone up another two cents,
And bread one,
And there's new tax on cigarettes-
We remember the job we never had, Mood and Tone The tone seems to be of anger and then almost threatening or hostile. Hughes is expressing his frustrations towards the impact that racism has had throughout his life. The poem is simple to read, but the simplicity gives away the true depth of his struggle. James Langston Hughes Second Stanza By: Langston Hughes Harlem Never Could get,
And can't have now
Because we're colored.
So we stand here
On the edge of hell
And look out on the world
What we're gonna do
In the face of what
We remember. James Langston Hughes was born February 1, 1902, in Joplin, Missouri. His parents divorced when he was a young boy. He lived with his grandmother who was old and poor. Hughes began writing poetry in Lincoln, Illinois. During his teenage years, he held odd jobs as an assistant cook, launderer, and a busboy. Hughes died of complications from prostate cancer in May 22, 1967, in New York. Hughes is particularly known for his insightful, colorful portrayals of black life in America from the twenties through the sixties. His life and work were enormously important in shaping the artistic contributions of the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s. He wanted to tell the stories of his people in ways that reflected their actual culture, including both their suffering and their love of music, laughter, and language itself. First Stanza The people of Harlem remember the bad times, they remember suffering and being told that it will soon get better, and they persevere through all of the hard patches. The people of Harlem had always been discriminated against, and they had always been the second or third choice for the job. They had to deal with the raising of prices even when they had no way to support themselves and their families. Third Stanza Hughes and the people of Harlem knew about their lack of opportunity, they were aware of the discrimination and they hated it. There is nothing worse than being powerless in a world where you are supposed to have equal rights. Fourth Stanza The people of Harlem look back at what they've been through and relish in the future, however, how will they make up for what has been done for them? They need to thrive and fluorish like the proud people they are. In some aspects reflects every day life in Negro America. Not all, but a good number of African Americans live in urban areas and central cities. Harlem is one of those areas. In these communities, life is very hard and it is quite difficult to survive. The poem states "here on the edge of hell stands Harlem," and that in it self is quite self explanatory. The poem talks about hardships of inner-city black society. Racial injustices and discrimination still exists today.