Langston Hughes: Poems

What did the speaker meen by "I could've died for love- but for livin I was born


Asked by
Last updated by Aslan
Answers 1
Add Yours

The poem's tone shifts during the fifth stanza. Finally the speaker concedes that since his suicide attempts "failed," he might as well remain living. Sure, he says, he could have died for love, but “for livin’ I was born.” By staring death in the face, the speaker has rediscovered his sense of purpose. He acknowledges that he might never find complete peace from the vicissitudes of life, he might still holler and cry sometimes, but he has decided that he will persevere and not let his “sweet baby” see him die. His last refrain gives the poem its title: “Life is fine! Fine as wine! Life is fine!”

In this poem, Hughes revisits a common theme in his work: perseverance. He understands the plight of his people and crafts a vulnerable character here who often considers giving up on life, but can never quite follow through - meaning that he still has something to live for. By coming so close to death, the speaker in "Life is Fine" finds a renewed desire to live.