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Langston Hughes’ poem entitled ‘Cross’ is a one stanza poem with a title that carries a deep and rich meaning and one that perfectly reflects the overall theme. The author has used the first-person persona to pass the message to the reader (Bloom 20). This paper intends to explore the identity of the author and the critical figure of speech as well as the overall theme that is being discussed in the poem. The analysis of “Cross” by Langston Hughes shall be provided in this essay.
The persona is this poem represents a son who is born by a white father and a black mother. He is full of anger because he has been brought up in a mixed heritage, which consists of two races, which are different. Although the persona regrets later for disapproving his parents for having sired him in different racial communities, his anger seems to be strongly inflected by issues of racial discrimination (Bloom 20).
Use of Metaphor
The title of the poem (the cross) has a deep and rich meaning and great significance. The significance of this title reflects the central theme that was intended by the author. There are scores of meanings that can be attached to the word ‘cross’ used as the title.
As the analysis of the poem “Cross” evidences, the persona is very dissatisfied and angry for the reason that his heritage is torn between two ends. At first, he vents this anger towards his parents, only to regret his actions later. Cross has been used metaphorically to portray this anger and dissatisfaction.
The persona’s mixed heritage has indeed put him in a testing moment that can be described as a burden. The cross represents this burden to emphasize suffering. The persona’s predicament can also be compared to the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, who was tried with no wrongdoing. Similarly, the persona is suffering from being brought up in a mixed heritage, even though it is not his fault.
Assording to the summary, the persona crosses over from being angry and offensive, to adopt a forgiving character. This transformation entirely gives the word ‘cross’ another meaning. Finally, after making over and forgiving his parents, the persona is torn between uncertainty fates. He wonders whether he will die a bi-racial. In other words, he is left in a crossroad (Juhasz 56). Thus, one can see the meaning of “Cross” by Langston Hughes as very important.
The Overall Theme
The poem is generally discussing problems of racial heritage. The speaker is particularly perturbed for being born in a mixed heritage – having a black mother and a white father. Indeed, the speaker is full of grief and frustrations for belonging to a diverse culture. He is reported as regretting having hated and disapproved of his parents for being responsible for the purported regrettable fate.
The deep feelings exhibited by the persona reflect the significance of racial heritage, and besides, portray some degree of disconnection between the black and the white. Perhaps, the persona was born during the age of the slave trade, when Africans were being enslaved in America, resulting in bi-racial heritage. Thus, the main theme in “Cross” by Langston Hughes is the character’s inner confusion about his mixed heritage.
The anger that the persona vents originates from the negative feelings of slavery. Also, the persona is reported saying that his father died a wealthy man while his mother died a poor woman, perhaps to portray how the white was using the black to enrich themselves. In essence, discrimination of one race against the other must-have contributed towards the persona’s offensive attitude towards a mixed heritage (Bennett 16)
The anther’s use of metaphor has attracted my attention and encourages me to think critically about the issues being discussed in the poem, and as such, understanding the themes in a more profound and more precise manner.
The figure of speech has made me emphasize with the speaker who is in great turmoil, as I imagined his predicament. Overall, as the analysis of “Cross” by Langston Hughes shows, the author has successively used the speaker to pass on his rich message to the reader (Bennett 16).
Bennett, Sandra. Identifying themes and poetic devices in selected poems. Utah: University of Utah, 1972. 16. Print
Bloom, Harold. Langston Hughes. New York: Infobase Publishing, 2007. 20. Print
Juhasz, Suzanne. The metaphor and the poetry of Williams, Pound, and Stevens. London: Associated University Presse, 1974. 56. Print