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Langston Hughes Essay



Langston Hughes is an African- American writer who lived in the early years of the twentieth century. He had a difficult childhood that was marked by a divorce between his parents. Langston stayed with his mother who was very poor after the divorce with her husband.

This has greatly influenced Langston’s further life. He began writing while he was a teenager. His work was inspired by the surrounding world (Kennedy and Gioia 372); so, he wrote about things he saw. As a child born from a black family, he witnessed prejudice and racism practiced against the blacks. This contributed to Hughes dark times; therefore, most of the poems he wrote carry a theme anchored on those experiences.

The poems demonstrate and describe the dark times the blacks faced. Hughes even mentioned that he mostly wrote his poems when he felt the worst. These included moments when he could not stand the social injustices any longer. An aspect that is so common with writers. Most authors write best at their dark moments in life. This essay discusses how many writers write best during the low points of their lives, and analyses this aspect in Langston Hughes poem (Kennedy and Gioia 372).

Why authors write their best works during darkest moments: Langston Hughes

In my opinion, when one is going through the dark times in life, they feel determined to let out what he or she holds back in the heart. This is why when one speaks during such moments, they are likely to speak directly what is in their minds.

For instance, Hughes was dissatisfied with ill treatment that his fellow black men experienced. He desired to live in a world that observed justice in spite of the skin color. This made him write his poems with titles implying democracy and freedom from racial discrimination. He told of the black men, and what they felt.

He wrote about the desperation that the black people went through and that he also experienced in his life. For instance, in his poem; The Weary Blues, Hughes speaks of a sad moan who finds consolation in playing his music. He wishes he was dead and says, “…I ain’t happy no mo’, and I wish that I had died…” (Hughes 369). His speech suggested hard times, yet showed anticipated hope, “… I’s gwine to quit ma frownin’ And put ma troubles on the shelf…” (Hughes 369).

During the time when one is going through the dark phase in life, they have to look on the bright side to move on. This is why Langston was hopeful and felt encouraged. An example is his poem titled Mother to Son. This poem involves a piece of advice given to a son by his mother.

The poem tells of the writer’s rough life, which has not been easy. He says, “… well, son, I’ll tell you: life for me ain’t been no crystal stair, it has tacks in it, and splinters and boards…” (Hughes 370). In this poem, the mother proceeds to tell the son how she maneuvered and climbed regardless of the prevailing tough circumstances. This shows the inspiration that comes out of low moments, as one hopes for better days in life. Whenever a person is going through tough moments all they bank on is hope.

It is also evident that during dark time’s peoples’ sorrows makes them empty their hearts, which brings consolation. Sorrow digs out the deepest heart’s feelings. This is why in Hughes’ poem Island he uses a tone that shows a broken soul, which is willing to express itself. This can be seen in lines, “…Wave of sorrow, do not drown me now…” shows affliction (Kennedy and Dana 370).


In conclusion, it is worth noting that a broken soul becomes open and ready to express itself. Therefore, it is clear why the most popular writers wrote best at the times when their souls and spirits felt crushed. As they expressed the feelings of their hearts they found comfort, and came up with renewed hopes. Such poems are a great inspiration when people going through tough times read them; hence, their popularity increases desire and hope in their hearts.

Works Cited

Hughes, Langston. “Mother to Son”. An Introduction to Poetry. New York: Longman Publishers, 1998. Print.

Kennedy, X.J and Dana Gioia. An Introduction to Poetry. New York: Longman, 1997. Print

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"Langston Hughes." IvyPanda, 8 Feb. 2019, ivypanda.com/essays/langston-hughes/.

1. IvyPanda. "Langston Hughes." February 8, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/langston-hughes/.


IvyPanda. "Langston Hughes." February 8, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/langston-hughes/.


IvyPanda. 2019. "Langston Hughes." February 8, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/langston-hughes/.


IvyPanda. (2019) 'Langston Hughes'. 8 February.

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