Negro Art : I, Too Essay

1096 words - 5 pages

Negro Art: “I, Too”

Langston Hughes’ five stanza poem titled “I, Too” is an unexpectedly patriotic poem. It may not be very long, but he gets a strong point across using vivid imagery. The poem is shining light on the racism and discrimination towards black people. The speaker obviously loves his country, but he is envisioning a greater America. He is dreaming of a place where white people and black people will be able to comfortably do something as simple as eat dinner together. The poem is empowering and effective because of the genuine emotion it evokes.
In the first stanza, the speaker says, “I too sing America. “ This line sets the tone for the patriotism in the poem. Singing can ...view middle of the document...

The speaker is optimistic and hopeful for the future. Just because he has to eat in the kitchen instead of with company, his hunger is not affected and neither is his attitude. His time will come and he knows this, so in the meantime he is taking care of himself and staying healthy. Health is symbolic of hope in this poem. When he goes into the kitchen to eat he is nourishing his body. Metaphorically, the poem is telling black people to nourish their minds, educate themselves, and grow from their personal experiences. This part of the poem begins the process of empowerment towards the black population. It is telling them that even though the white people may have control and put them down, they are American too and their time will come.
The entire second stanza is looking towards the future in optimism using an extended metaphor. The speaker says, “Tomorrow, I’ll be at the table when company comes. Nobody’ll dare say to me, ‘Eat in the kitchen’ then. “He is not literally saying tomorrow, but one day he knows that America will not be as racist as it is in the time period of this poem. He is alluding to a future where color does not matter. He is conveying a strong message in a subtle way to black people as well. He is telling them that they should not just take the mistreatment of the white people forever, and the day needs to come where they assert themselves because are also Americans and deserve equal treatment.
In the third stanza, the speaker is thinking about when he finally gets to sit at the table when company comes over, he will be able to show how all the laughing and eating well paid off while they had him in the kitchen. “They’ll see how beautiful I am, and be ashamed-“The reader may think that the speaker became beautiful over the course of the poem, but he was actually beautiful the whole time. The white people will one day come to a realization that they were wrong for all of the injustice and inequality in this country because black people are...

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