Langston Hughes: Poems
The Voices of the Voiceless: Comparing the Poetry of Langston Hughes and Countee Cullen College
As two key figureheads in what is now deemed the Harlem Renaissance, Langston Hughes and Countee Cullen served as voices for a previously voiceless population. Their poetry speaks of the enduring struggles of being an African American, and the effort required to merely survive in such a discriminatory society. However, despite being poets with similar senses of purpose, their employed methods differed dramatically; Hughes and Cullen approach the field of poetry at two vastly different vantage points. While Hughes and Cullen differ in selections of speaker and audience, their core concepts of struggle, a faulty society, and a wise, complex narrator remain mutual.
As blacks in 1920s America, Hughes and Cullen were victims of widespread (and, at the time, socially acceptable) discrimination. These circumstances provided the primary themes for much of their poetry, inspiring them to write on the daily battles of life as a second class citizen. The theme of rising above struggle can be found in both author’s works. In Langston Hughes’s poem “Mother to Son”, the narrator explains to her son that while the stairs may be unstable and dark, he must continue ascending and follow her. Symbolically, the narrator is...
Join Now to View Premium Content
GradeSaver provides access to 999 study guide PDFs and quizzes, 7819 literature essays, 2192 sample college application essays, 333 lesson plans, and ad-free surfing in this premium content, “Members Only” section of the site! Membership includes a 10% discount on all editing orders.
Already a member? Log in