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Themes

Society and class play a big part in why "Democracy" was written in the first place. If some folks enjoy more rights and freedoms in a society than others, then we get the feeling that democracy for all isn't really possible. Thank goodness for poets like Hughes who helped to point that out for us. Good lookin' out, Langston.

Questions About Society and Class

  1. Is it clear what sort of society or class the speaker is speaking from? If not, how does this ambiguity contribute to the poem's themes?
  2. Would it have made any difference if the speaker had been more specific in talking about society and class? Why or why not?
  3. Is it possible for a society that's separated by class to ever be truly free? Why or why not?
  4. If everyone in the world were suddenly granted freedom in its most ideal sense, would the problem of class and racial prejudice no longer exist? Why or why not? How might the speaker answer that question?

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

Society and class are some of the biggest obstacles in attaining true freedom in Hughes's poem. They're democracy-hurdles that our speaker is trying to jump over.

Society can't really function too well (or, say, at all) with class distinctions that offer some people land and bread and others nothing. Hughes's poem points out that everyone needs freedom.

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