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Themes in the Poetry of Langston Hughes

Updated on September 21, 2020
Langston Hughes
Langston Hughes | Source

1. Dreams Keeper

Two themes are evident in "Dreams" by Langston Hughes (HIKMIYAH 2018). Significance of hope is the prominent theme in the poem. The manifestation of dreams is perpetuated through hopes. Losing faith is another theme evident in the poem. According to Hughes, loss of dreams is like becoming barren. No one can go forward without faith. Lastly, there is also a theme of the impact of having dreams. Hughes shows the distinction between life with dreams and life without dreams. The poet sets an inspiration to his readers by encouraging them not to give up in dealings. He proclaims that life without dreams is a waste or just like a bird without wings.

Life is fine

The theme of love is evident in the third stanza of the poem. This was demonstrated by Hughes' plan to jump from the sixteenth floor for his child (Hughes, 2020). Taking an elevator to the sixteenth floor, he remembered his baby and had a decision to jump. This shows the theme of the family because the writer has a child. Instead of jumping, he takes a second thought and yells. The theme of love is also intensified by his wise decision not to jump and die because he could have left his child poor and suffering in life. He concludes that he could have died for love, yet he was born to live.

2. The weary blues

The African American spirit is one of the major themes displayed in Hughes' The weary Blues. The power of music has displayed the poem (Hughes, 2020). Bluesman sits on a rickety stool and plays piano where music comes out from his soul despite his weariness. This implies that suggest a buzzing vitality that can't be suppressed by exhaustion. The theme of injustice is present in the poem as channeled by black experience and racial borders in America. Lastly, the poem gives a thematic implication that the body is an instrument of the soul. The association which existed between a bluesman and his musical instruments shows a bluesman is a man of old age who preserves in the face of death and aging. It is not stated whether the singer is old, but by describing the set pieces and instruments, the listener is given an idea that the man is old. In tune "like a musical fool," the fools are linked with hidden wisdom and wisdom associate closely with old age.

The Dream Keeper and Other Poems



Hughes, L. (2020). The collected poems of Langston Hughes. Vintage.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

© 2020 Ian Muiruri


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    • Ian Muiruri profile imageAUTHOR

      Ian Muiruri 

      3 weeks ago from Machakos

      Iva. Thanks you so much for your kind reply

    • profile image


      4 weeks ago



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