Langston Hughes: Poems

Literary Differences Between Two of the Harlem Renaissance’s Central Figures 11th Grade

Zora Neale Hurston and Langston Hughes are two of the most influential authors ever, and were central figures during the Harlem Renaissance. The Harlem Renaissance was “the development of the Harlem neighborhood in New York City as a black cultural mecca in the early 20th Century and the subsequent social and artistic explosion that resulted” ("Harlem Renaissance" 2009). Naturally, Hurston and Hughes were both inspired by the events that took place around them, yet it can be argued that their respective works have more differences than similarities. Two of their most influential works that were published during this time period are Zora Neale Hurston’s short story “Sweat” and Langston Hughes’ poem “I, Too.” Both works are brimming with purpose and meaning, and helped lay the foundations for successful African American writers that came afterward. Although Hurston’s “Sweat” and Hughes’ “I, Too” were both written during the Harlem Renaissance, their depictions of African American life differ, and “Sweat” focuses on gender disparity, while “I, Too” focuses on racial inequality.

To better understand the differences in their writing, you must first understand their beginnings. Born on January 7, 1891, Zora Neale Hurston was raised...

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