Langston Hughes Essay

2415 words - 10 pages

In the words taken from the essay “The Negro Artist and the Racial Mountain,” Langston Hughes offers insightful statements that verge on the boundary of being, in a sense, challenges. He is directly confronting the implicit wariness of social stratification in that he dismisses the societal need for humans to conform and to adopt personalities and views for themselves that are significantly molded by the outside world. Langston Hughes is saying that humans, no matter their circumstance or origin, have the capacity and the duty to act according to their unique inclinations and perceptions. It is the differences in the world that empower and stimulate change and innovation, and African ...view middle of the document...

They will grow as a group and will gain the experience and resilience necessary for their success; by surmounting the impediment that is imposed by the cumulative racial bias and tension that pervades the society in which they live, African American poets will be able to prove their value and bring to prominence the "temples…on top of the mountain” where they have constructed a free place that disregards the critical, derogatory positions of others. The plea made by Langston Hughes is not, however, so pressing as to convey the sense that he is desperate for proponents, but rather that his independent determination denotes that he will freely express himself, freely give voice to the creative perceptions of his mind, even if he may be the only one who does so. He professes that he does not need the sanction of others in order for him to do what he wishes; though he may be disapproved of or abused, he will act for himself and urges others to act for themselves as well. The advice that Langston Hughes appears to give is that all people, not just African Americans, should feel that they are at liberty to be free; if not in mainstream society, then they can be free in themselves and express their true existences through their words. Because he realizes that African Americans will not be wholly accepted if they manifest themselves as more free-spirited and individualistic, Langston Hughes urges black people to live their lives fully distant from the initial acceptance of others. Perhaps, over time, and after they have materialized a solid foundation on which to autonomously survive, African American poets and writers will gain the respect and sincere acknowledgement that will bring their works into greater appreciation. Until that time comes, however, Langston Hughes urges his fellow writers and artists to pursue what it is they truly want to and to articulate what they feel the need to. He is urging his fellow African Americans to care nothing for the displeasure of whites and blacks alike as it pertains to their actions, but not to be so haughty as to think that they are free from blemish. They must embrace both their pleasing, pretty side and their ugly, distasteful side so that they can learn to accept themselves for who they are and not what other people think they are; and, all being well, in the process they may be able to convince those who disparaged them to behave toward them with the respect due to another human being, the form of respect that acknowledges a person’s own shortcomings but offers the promise of improvement and the hope for the productiveness of the lives of each human being. I find that the advice that Langston Hughes gives in the brief excerpt from his essay is, in fact, good advice. Though it is tinged with defiance, the advice generally appears to convey the message of determination and greater toleration, both qualities and goals that are commendable. The advice shows that when fairness is not met with in the world, those...

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