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Analysis


Symbols, Imagery, Wordplay

Form and Meter

There is no set form and meter in this poem, but there's definitely a science to the way it's structured—even if that science is to make the poem seem as if it has no structure. Let's back up: Th...

Speaker

If you didn't know too much about Langston Hughes, it would be tempting to think that the speaker of the poem is Hughes himself—he's either the one in this college class, or he's remembering back...

Setting

Though this poem is specifically set in Harlem, which is part of New York City, it doesn't stay in Harlem. Instead, the setting expands to include several places, reminding us that the issues confr...

Sound Check

Hearing this poem out loud is like overhearing one end of a conversation. It's not really a prepared speech or anything quite so formal. Nope, it's more of a sneak peak into someone else's stream o...

What's Up With the Title?

The title of this poem is misleadingly simple. It makes the poem seem like just an assignment for a class, English B—which could be a class in any college. Put yourself back in your high school o...

Calling Card

Hughes writes a lot about how race can affect identity. In this poem, the young speaker is wondering how being the only colored person in the class might affect the truth that's supposed to come ou...

Tough-o-Meter

This is a fairly easy to read, conversational poem, but it's long, and deals with some difficult, intense themes. Still, just because this poem may be down at base camp doesn't mean it won't offer...

Trivia

Hughes was more than just a writer—at times, he was a busboy, a cook, a launderer, and a seaman. (Source.)Hughes died in New York City, the main setting for this poem. (Source.)Hughes tried to ma...

Steaminess Rating

This poem doesn't really talk about sex. It talks about being in love, but even then none of the mushy stuff gets mentioned. It might take a mature mind to really grasp this poem, but there's no ex...

Allusions

Winston-Salem, North Carolina (7)Durham, North Carolina (8)Harlem, New York City, New York (9)City College, New York, New York (9)St. Nicholas Park, New York, New York (12)St. Nicholas Ave, New Yor...
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