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Democracy

Democracy

by Langston Hughes

Analysis: Speaker

Our speaker of "Democracy" sounds like he could be our friend, right? (Note: We're just assuming it's a he, since Langston Hughes is the poet. It's always dangerous to mix up the poet and the speaker, but we're just using "he" in a general sense, not a biographical one.) There's nothing particularly domineering or pretentious about his voice or his message. He's like your Average Joe, but with a pretty important message to share with us. And more often than not, some of the greatest accomplishments in our world have come from folks with humble backgrounds, not unlike Langston Hughes himself.

Even though the speaker uses a first-person point of view, his words are generalized enough for anyone to identify with. He talks about democracy and freedom, the land, bread, seeds—you know, the kind of stuff we can all relate to. So he's personal, but in a way that's also mighty personable, reaching virtually anyone who appreciates the concepts of freedom and democracy.

He also has a sense of humor. He talks about "tomorrow's bread" being no use to someone who's dead, and really we can't help but chuckle every time we hear that. And he says it all so plainly, so simply, that we don't feel as if he's trying to pull the wool over our eyes. Instead, he sounds reasonable and honest. And what better way to talk about freedom and argue for democracy?

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