Study Guide

Democracy Stanza 5

By Langston Hughes

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Stanza 5

Lines 19-21

I live here, too.
I want freedom
Just as you.

  • The last stanza comes to us just as plainly and casually as the rest of the poem. And again, the speaker makes the message here sound particularly reasonable and sensible. He lives here so he ought to be entitled to freedom just like any other citizen. Seems fair to us.
  • Notice that, even by the end of the poem, we still don't have any specifics as to where we are or what time it is. So from beginning to end, the speaker's message is intended for all people—not just New Yorkers or Californians.
  • We also feel in this last stanza more of the speaker's universal desire for freedom. The "you" in line 21 can be anyone and freedom likewise should be for everyone as well.
  • The ending perfect rhyme we get in "too" and "you" sends this final message to us in the same sort of casual, yet memorable, way we've heard the speaker's previous rhymes. Don't forget to check out "Form and Meter" for more on the techniques at work here.
  • By the end we feel the speaker's sense of reason and demand for freedom in a way that makes any argument against these demands appear downright foolish, just like the joke about "tomorrow's bread." All people need bread to eat, and all people need freedom. So, our focus should be on getting these things today, quick-fast in a hurry, not tomorrow.

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