I, Too, Sing America
by Langston Hughes
Analysis: Sound Check
Unlike, say, "The Weary Blues," we don't have jazzy rhythms and the catchy rhymes in "I, Too, Sing America." Instead, we've got short, deliberate lines that convey something that sounds a whole lot like quiet resolve. All those short, declarative sentences? Well, they're called "declarative" for a reason. And there's no hysterical language here, nothing that even sounds angry. It's just simple, like a statement of purpose. Which, when you think about it, is kind of remarkable. After all, the message being conveyed here is enormous: "we will be equal." Given what the institution of slavery looked like in the United States, that's a pretty stiff claim.
So when you read this poem out loud – or to yourself in your room – read it as if you were a teacher of sorts, calmly trying to explain something. Something that most people might think is impossible, but you know better. Use short sentences. And keep your voice even.