Langston Hughes is a poet of great talent in his own right and should not be portrayed as a Whitman imitator. Hughes is an accomplished poet and not a Whitman copyist. The articles about Hughes’s work I read made both good and bad points. I disagree with Gohar’s and Nadell’s assertion that Hughes refers to slavery in his work (Gohar2), (Nadell1). I do not believe he was referring specifically to slavery in this work (Gohar2) (Nadell1).
Saddik Ghar claims that Langston Hughes’ poetry engages the history of slavery and colonization, connecting African American literary traditions to its counterparts within the United States. Gohar is wrong because Langston Hughes’s poetry was a reflection of the times and included his political opinion. Hughes’ “I, Too, Sing America,” a poem written in the Great Depression, informs its readers about Hughes’ views on America and its political system. The poem “I, Too, Sing America” was written during the Great Depression. In it, Hughes informs his readers of his views on the United States and its politics. He is referring then to a time of hardship. “I’ll Be at the Table When Company Comes” represents the triumph over those challenges.
The first stanza is Hughes’ view of the future, expressing his thoughts on what would happen if political and economic issues worsened. In the second verse, Hughes describes the improvement in conditions and how the events of the poem have reversed. This is a reflection of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s efforts to improve the economy. Hughes is a poet who uses his work to express politics (Gipson 1, p. 1). Gohar’s criticism is not my opinion.
Article two, on the other hand, is a positive and idealistic evaluation of Hughes’s work, “I, Too, Sing America”, in agreement with its metaphorical meaning. Martha Nadell, in article 2, argues that Hughes uses poetry to convey a message about economic issues. Nadell makes a good point. In the period in which the poem is written, politics and the economy were both struggling. I believe Hughes’ interpretation of the poem because Hughes expressed his political views through poetry.
Nadell made her claim by analyzing the Harlem Renaissance. She looked at what was common among the works of people who lived there (Commander 2). This is a theory that combines image and text, instead of using the approach of African American literacy movements” (Gipson 2). This is important because it gives me an insight into Hughes’ views on the Harlem Renaissance. It influenced his poetic approach to political issues.
The Good Black Poet And Good Grey Poet discusses Hughes’ inspiration for poetry, the reasons he wrote his poems, and how he evaluated his work. Gipson says that Hughes, like Whitman, had very similar opinions on society during different periods. Gipson argues that Hughes, Whitman and other writers share similar feelings and attitudes. According to my research both poets wrote jazzy verses about political events that occurred during their time period. Hughes’s work is not influenced by Whitman. It reflects Hughes’ view of American politics and social institutions. While many of Langston Hughes’ poems are similar to Whitman or reflect common themes, we cannot say that Hughes was inspired by Whitman. “Whitman Hughes is a Democrat to the core” (Gipson2). This quote shows how people compare two poets. However, I do not think it is relevant because the two poets are different and share similar thoughts. This is why I agree with some of the opinions, but disagree with others.
Hughes’ poem is similar to Whitman’s, which ends with the line, “Each sings what belongs to them, and none to anyone else.” Hughes, while acknowledging Whitman as a great influence on him, sings a song of his own. Hughes’ writing also reflects Hughes’ literary talent and views on America’s social and economic status and that of African Americans.