Struggles of Langston Hughes

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About this sample


Words: 759 |

Pages: 2|

4 min read

Published: Mar 5, 2024

Words: 759|Pages: 2|4 min read

Published: Mar 5, 2024

Langston Hughes is widely regarded as one of the most influential African American poets and writers of the 20th century. Throughout his life, he faced numerous struggles and challenges that shaped his work and contributed to his unique voice in American literature. This essay will explore the struggles of Langston Hughes, from his early years to his rise to prominence as a leading figure in the Harlem Renaissance.

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Born in Joplin, Missouri in 1902, Hughes faced racism and discrimination from a young age. Growing up in a segregated society, he was acutely aware of the challenges faced by African Americans in a country that denied them basic rights and opportunities. Despite these obstacles, Hughes found solace in writing, using poetry and prose to express his thoughts and feelings about the world around him.

One of the key struggles Hughes faced throughout his career was the tension between his desire to be a successful writer and his commitment to social justice. As a prominent figure in the Harlem Renaissance, Hughes was expected to represent the African American experience in a positive light, but he also wanted to address the harsh realities of racism and oppression. This tension is evident in much of his work, which often explores themes of identity, inequality, and resistance.

In addition to his artistic struggles, Hughes also faced personal challenges, including financial difficulties and health issues. Despite these obstacles, he continued to write prolifically, producing poems, essays, and plays that resonated with readers around the world. His commitment to social justice and his belief in the power of art to effect change inspired generations of writers and activists.

One example of a struggle that Hughes faced was the pressure to conform to societal expectations of African American writers. During the Harlem Renaissance, there was a push for African American artists to produce work that portrayed their community in a positive light, often glossing over the harsh realities of racism and discrimination. Hughes, however, refused to shy away from addressing these issues in his writing. In his poem "I, Too," Hughes boldly proclaims, "I am the darker brother / They send me to eat in the kitchen / When company comes," highlighting the segregation and marginalization experienced by African Americans in the United States. This willingness to confront uncomfortable truths set Hughes apart from his contemporaries and solidified his reputation as a fearless and authentic voice in American literature.

Furthermore, Hughes struggled with the expectations of his family and community. Coming from a family with middle-class aspirations, Hughes often felt pressure to pursue a more traditional career path. However, his passion for writing and his desire to shed light on the experiences of African Americans led him to follow his own path, despite the disapproval of those around him. In his autobiography "The Big Sea," Hughes recounts the internal conflict he faced between fulfilling his own dreams and meeting the expectations of others. This struggle for autonomy and self-expression is a recurring theme in Hughes's work, as he continuously grappled with the tension between individuality and social responsibility.

Additionally, Hughes faced criticism from both white and black audiences for his outspoken views on race and politics. Some critics accused him of being too radical, while others dismissed his work as too simplistic or didactic. Despite these challenges, Hughes remained steadfast in his commitment to using his art as a tool for social change. In his essay "The Negro Artist and the Racial Mountain," Hughes famously declared, "We younger Negro artists who create now intend to express our individual dark-skinned selves without fear or shame." This declaration of self-acceptance and pride in one's heritage became a rallying cry for African American artists and intellectuals seeking to break free from the constraints of white-dominated cultural norms.

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In conclusion, the struggles of Langston Hughes were central to his development as a writer and a thinker. From his early experiences of racism and discrimination to his later success as a leading figure in the Harlem Renaissance, Hughes faced numerous challenges that shaped his work and his worldview. Despite these obstacles, he remained committed to his art and his beliefs, leaving behind a rich legacy that continues to inspire readers today. Overall, the struggles of Langston Hughes were varied and complex, spanning personal, artistic, and societal dimensions. Through his resilience and unwavering dedication to his craft, Hughes was able to transcend these challenges and leave an indelible mark on American literature. His work continues to be celebrated for its honesty, insight, and enduring relevance, serving as a testament to the power of art to inspire change and provoke thought.

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Dr. Charlotte Jacobson

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Struggles Of Langston Hughes. (2024, March 05). GradesFixer. Retrieved May 30, 2024, from
“Struggles Of Langston Hughes.” GradesFixer, 05 Mar. 2024,
Struggles Of Langston Hughes. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 30 May 2024].
Struggles Of Langston Hughes [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2024 Mar 05 [cited 2024 May 30]. Available from:
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