Langston Hughes Analysis Essay
Although we all experience life differently, there is one concept that allows humans to connect; emotion. As human beings, we all feel happiness, we all feel sadness, and there are times where we have all felt lonely, nervous, and jealous. Every human has experienced different classifications of emotion, although the cause for feeling these ways are unique to each individual. Poetry allows us to connect, not through experiences in life, but the emotions that follow. American history contains a large amount of racial discrimination and inequality towards African Americans. Langston Hughes, a black poet, expresses his frustration and feelings towards these acts of oppression within his writing. Whenever he was faced with cruelty and oppression due to his race, he was forced to “play it cool”(Motto) and hide how he truly felt in order to move along with his life. As a result of numbing his emotions, Hughes expresses that this notion caused him to feel extremely isolated and “keeps thinking he won't be lonely”(Hope). Hughes uses rhythmic language and diction to fully depict this agony and his loneliness, allowing readers to relate to his feelings and connect through the universality. As a white person, it is virtually impossible to begin to understand what it was like to be faced with racism constantly, but through the poetic language in which Hughes conveys how it caused him to feel, I am able to connect by remembering times of my own life where I felt the same loneliness and isolation as Langston Hughes did. Additionally, the notion of prevalent feelings is seen in Walt Whitman's, “By the Bivouac’s Fitful Flame”. Although Whitman writes about his experience sitting by an army campfire, he conveys his emotions with the line, “of life and death, of home and the past and the loved, and of those that are far away”(7). Through the use of anaphora and meter scheme, Whitman emphasizes that he feels homesick and saudade as he is away at war. Despite the fact that many of Whitman’s readers have not experienced being away at war, the mutual effect of feeling homesick and wistfulness allows for an insight into Whitman’s life and how these feelings are not individual. As poet Naomi Shihab explains in her speech about what inspires her poetry, “poetry is a window into other people’s emotions and lives and it helps us to understand our differences and their hardships through a caring and connecting way”. Essentially, the particular intricacy of how emotion is revealed in poetry, allows readers to connect and feel compassionate towards the writer, as well as feeling comfort in the fact that their emotions are not distinct, but rather they are capable of creating an extraordinary insight into the lives of others.