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Let America Be America Again: Critical Analysis Essay

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In the poem “Let America Be America Again,” Langston Hughes, brings attention to inequality by making the Great Depression the main subject. Hughes begins the poem by using repetition throughout his poem: “Never was America to me” which places emphasis on how America is not the “America” it claims to be. The speaker seems to be pointing out the failure of the country to able to live up to the principles it was founded upon. Moreover, the speaker goes on to use anaphora in lines 19 through 23, “I am the poor white, fooled and pushed apart, I am the Negro bearing slavery’s scars. I am the immigrant clutching the hope I seek...”

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By Hughes repeating “I am” at the start of each line he is giving a voice to the whites who were moved because of the economic problem going on, the African Americans who continued to be affected by slavery, and the immigrants who hoped to achieve the American dream. He gives equal attention to each member of the society facing inequality in America. Adding on, he goes on throughout the poem, placing focus on the need for equality and liberty. This further concludes Hughes is hopeful for an America that’s welcoming and goes back to being the great America it was at the beginning. Despite the differences in formal choices made by both poets, they’re of resemblance when it comes to calling out America for their issues. Both Allen Myles and Langston Hughes discuss the lack of equality towards those who are not part of the elite. They address America as a country in need of social change.

They both make their audience acknowledge the reality of the struggles millions of Americans face due to inequality. The poets bring awareness and call for equality. At last, I personally believe that it doesn't make sense to talk about “protest poetry” as a single genre due to the fact that such poems as satirical and slam poetry can be labeled as protest poetry. By referring to protest poetry as a single genre, it places restrictions on their style of writing. For example, both “ An American Poem” by Eileen Myles and “Let America Be America Again” by Langston Hughes are “ protest poetry” meaning works that call out real socio-political issues and reflects on the need for social change like inequality in America. However, this doesn't signify that it's only protest, it can also be confessional poetry. This further concludes that protest poetry shouldn't be placed into a single genre because there are multiple possible genres, creating this work that addresses existing social and political problems.

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Let America Be America Again: Critical Analysis Essay. (2023, July 11). Edubirdie. Retrieved February 21, 2024, from
“Let America Be America Again: Critical Analysis Essay.” Edubirdie, 11 Jul. 2023,
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Let America Be America Again: Critical Analysis Essay [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2023 Jul 11 [cited 2024 Feb 21]. Available from:
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