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Thank you Ma'am

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literary criticism for Thank You Ma'am/ Literary Devices


What our group thinks about Langston Hughes.

He writes, in the same essay, "I am ashamed for the black poet who says,I want to be a poet, not a Negro poet,' as though his own racial world were not as interesting as any other world." For Hughes, who wrote honestly about the world into which he was born, it was impossible to turn away from the subject of race, which permeated every aspect of his life, writing, public reception and reputation. That said, his subject matter was extraordinarily varied and rich: his poems are about music, politics, America, love, the blues, and dreams. No list could be inclusive enough. Hughes wrote poems about ordinary people leading ordinary lives, and about a world that few could rightly call beautiful, but that was worth loving and changing. Unfortunately, as with many of our great American poets (Emily Dickinson, Robert Frost), the variety and challenging nature of his work has been reduced in the public mind through the repeated anthologizing of his least political, most accessible work. His most famous poem, "Dreams," is to be found in thousands of English textbooks across America. Memorized by countless children and adults, "Dreams&" is among the least racially and politically charged poems that he wrote:

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.

In his poem it means that if your dreams are shattered you are like a bird with a broken wing.

Langston Hughes intro.

Though this is a poem of hope, it seems significant that he writes, in the second stanza, "when" instead of "if," a testimony to the difficulty of his own life, and the lives he so closely observed in his work. A later poem, "Dream Variations," articulates that very dream and is only slightly less well-known, or known primarily because of the last line, which became the title of John Howard Griffin's seminal work on race relations in the sixties.

To fling my arms wide
In some place of the sun,
To whirl and to dance
Till the white day is done.
Then rest at cool evening
Beneath a tall tree
While night comes on gently,
Dark like me-
That is my dream

To fling my arms wide
In the face of the sun,
Dance! Whirl! Whirl!
Till the quick day is done.
Rest at pale evening . . .
A tall, slim tree . . .
Night coming tenderly
Black like me.

This Poem means that the real you is hidden real deep inside of your heart.

Langston Hughes Poems

She was a large woman with a large purse that hade everything in it but a hammer and nails. It had a long strap, and she carried it slung across her shoulder. It was about eleven o'clock at night, dark, and she ws walking alone, when a boy ran up behind her and tried to snatch her purse. Teh strap broke with the sudden single tug the boy gave it from behind. But the boy's weight and the weight of the purse combined caused him to lose his balance. Instead of taking off full blast as he had hoped, the boy fell on his back on the sidewalk and his legs flew up. The large woman simply turned around and kicked him in his blue-jeaned sitter. Then she reached down, picked the boy up by his shirt front, and shook him until his teeth rattled.

This passage is describing Mrs.Luella Bates Washington Jones.

How she was walking down the road and anyone could try and rob her.

Pg.88 first column, first passage

Sweat popped on the boy's face and he began to struggle. Mrs.Jones stopped, jerked him around in front of her, put a half nelson about his neck, and continued to drag him up the street. When she got to her door, she dragged the boy inside, down a hall, and into al large kitchenett-furnished room at the rear of the house. She switched on the light adn left the door opem. The boy could hear other roomers laughing and talking in hte large house. Some of their doors were open, too, so he knew he and the woman were not alone.

pg.88 second colunm last passage.

This passage is about how hard Roger tried but still struggled. He was also kind of scared of Mrs.Jones. He wanted to leave asap.

Langston Hughes
Wrote story Thank You Ma'am


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