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Themes and Symbol

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I have discovered in life that there are ways of getting almost anywhere you want to go, if you really want to go.
 
-Langston Hughes

A Day in Langston Hughes Life 1902-1967

Langston Hughes wrote many of his poems and books based on his experiences as a black man through life. He saw many of the hardships and struggles that his people had to endure in a country that was supposed to represent freedom. Due to this he wanted to show the beauty and the struggles of his people through his writings hoping that the rest of the world would see this and try to make a change for the better. Hughes’s work often represented the idea of achieving his dreams, symbolizing the goals he wanted to accomplish for himself and his people, or showing the true secrets of America and freedom or his everyday experiences growing up whether it was his experiences or someone else’s.

Examples:

Dream Deferred
 
What happens to a dream deferred?
Does it dry up
Like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore--
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over--
like a syrupy sweet?
Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.
Or does it explode?

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Dreams
 
Hold fast to dreams
For if dreams die
Life is a broken-winged bird
That cannot fly.
Hold fast to dreams
For when dreams go
Life is a barren field
Frozen with snow.

Merry-Go-Round
 
Where is the Jim Crow section
On this merry-go-round,
Mister, cause I want to ride?
Down South where I come from
White and colored
Can't sit side by side.
Down South on the train
There's a Jim Crow car.
On the bus we're put in the back—
But there ain't no back
To a merry-go-round!
Where's the horse
For a kid that's black?

I, Too
 
I, too, sing America.

I am the darker brother.
They send me to eat in the kitchen
When company comes,
But I laugh,
And eat well,
And grow strong.

Tomorrow,
I'll be at the table
When company comes.
Nobody'll dare
Say to me,
"Eat in the kitchen,"
Then.

Besides,
They'll see how beautiful I am
And be ashamed--

I, too, am America.