A Comparison of Two Poems by Black Poets

Countee Cullen and Langston Hughes are two of essentially the most acknowledged African American poets of the Harlem Renaissance. Countee Cullen’s “Yet Do I Marvel” and Langston Hughes’ “I, Too” are equivalent poems in that their comparable styles are representational of the authors’ private adversities of racial inequality. By evaluating these two poems, we get a glimpse of the fact of the injustices of bigotry all through the 1920’s by 2 popular Black poets.

Cullen and Hughes had been born within a 12 months of each other, and in consequence wrote these poems in the same 12 months (1925 ).

This is considerable since it exhibits the time during which racial inequality was distinguished. Both poets were having drawback with their feelings of being African American minorities in a society of White superiority. Their poems reflect the oppression of racism, which is especially revealed in Langston Hughes’ poem “I, Too”.

Many poems are full of significance and summary ideas, and “I, Too” is an example of such.

This poem doesn’t rhyme, nor meter patter really be measured. In order to understand and comprehend the importance behind this poem, it requires to be checked out a few times. Often certain aspects of a poem can be ignored. For instance, within the very first line of the poem, “I, too, sing America” (line 1), Hughes skillfully makes use of an allusion as he’s referring to Walt Whitman’s, “Tune of Myself”, which requires related themes. In Hughes’ poem, the speaker is resolving the nation as an entire. Hughes’ use of excellent language and vibrant photographs successfully reveals the speaker’s sensations in the direction of bigotry.

This poem explores the injustices of racism via the eyes of a black servant working for a white family. He tells us that he is despatched to the kitchen when firm comes. Every time he’s sent away, as an alternative of demonstrating anger, he laughs. This demonstrates that the speaker is a robust character with self poise. Hughes’ uses metaphor when he says “tomorrow” (line 8). He is indicating that the word “tomorrow” implies the longer term. He has faith that in the midst of time, everyone will become equal, “Tomorrow, /I’ll be at the table /When company comes. /Nobody’ll dare/Say to me, /”Eat within the kitchen,”/Then.” (lines 8-14). The speaker then explains that America shall be ashamed of having discriminated in opposition to him and other African Americans. The point that Hughes is making an attempt to clarify is that African Americans are Americans too, thus they shouldn’t be discriminated against for the colour of their skin.

The themes represented in Hughes’ poems are just like these exemplified in Countee Cullen’s poem, “Yet Do I Marvel”. However, a serious difference between the poems lies in the format. Cullen’s poem is a sonnet, with a rhyming scheme of ABAB BCBC DD EE FF GG (every different line rhymes, with the exception of the last two which rhyme consecutively). The natural move of this poem helps us (the reader) become extra engaged in Cullen’s anguish filled portrayal of racial injustices.

Like Hughes’ poem, Cullen’s poem can also be concerning the battle of racial identification, but as well as, he makes use of faith and mythology to further express the speaker’s battle with racial injustices. Although the theme of racial inequality is common in both poems, Cullen’s poem focuses extra on the speaker’s continual reference to religion and the justification of Gods will. Unlike the hope that the speaker explicated in Hughes’ poem, the speaker in Cullen’s poem starts out having faith in God, “I doubt not God is sweet, well-meaning, type,” (line 1). However, he later contradicts his faith in God because of the hardships of discrimination that African Americans endured in the last strains of the poem, “Yet do I marvel at this curious thing: /To make a poet black, and bid him sing!” (lines 13-14).

We see the speaker’s lack of religion in God all through the poem, which emphasizes his frustration and affliction with having to endure the everyday struggles of being discriminated towards for being black. He makes use of mythology to additional depreciate God’s actions by disagreeing with His punishments, “…declare/ If merely brute caprice dooms Sisyphus/ To Struggle up a unending stair.” (lines 6-8). The narrator is actually symbolizing that God’s punishments are unfair cruelty, not only in course of figures from Greek mythology, but in the course of him as well. The speaker considers God’s actions to be unreasonable, and we see this in his bitter words, “Inscrutable His methods are, and immune/ To catechism by a thoughts too strewn” (lines 9-10).

The comparability of Cullen’s “Yet do I Marvel” and Hughes’ “I, Too” lies strongly within the last two lines of Cullen’s poem. He finally tells us, straightforward, where his animosity lies. In the last two lines, he vehemently tells us that he finds it unfair that because he is a black poet, his voice won’t be heard; he will be ignored and pushed aside, similar to the speaker in Hughes’ poem. However, the two poems also distinction with each other in that Cullen’s poem concludes with the speaker reiterating his unequivocal feelings of inferiority and lack of faith. Hughes’ poem closes in a extra constructive method whereby the speaker asserts his faith and satisfaction in declaring his right to be treated equal.

Even with all the contrasting features of these two poems, they do share a precept theme of racial inequality. Additionally, in these two poems Hughes and Cullen have been addressing the mass society. They wanted to voice their concerns with racial discrimination. With Hughes’ use of vivid imagery and Cullen’s use of symbolism, they collectively utilized the artwork of poetry to effectively illustrate and specific personal hardships of African Americans.

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