Langston Hughes A Poet With Great Ideas

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Langston Hughes A poet with great ideas


According to the Prompt, this essay will examine the works of Langston Hughes and Nicolás Guillén, two poets of African descent who explored the ideas of racial inequality and the exclusion of blacks by Hughes, African Americans, and by Guillén, Afro -Cuban. It will touch in the idea of Hughes of the "racial mountain," a social and institutional obstacle by African Americans, and the differences between the work of Hughes and the writings and poetry of Guillén with reference to the previously mentioned racial inequality and exclusion. Finally, he will investigate how Guillén’s poetry supports his own racial ideas with respect to his native country of Cuba and culture, language, and Cuban people. 


All this will reflect the thesis that the idea of blackness is changing and developing constantly within American cultures, and that society can understand it through black literature. In "The Black Artist and the Racial Mountain," Langston Hughes wrote that the poet Countee Cullen told him, “’i want to be a poet – not to black poet,’ Meaning, I BelievePoet ‘”(Hughes). ‘I’ referred to Hughes, and as he wrote later, Hughes objected to this desire for Cullen because he believed that desire simultaneously existed within and reinforced the idea of the racial mountain. The racial mountain, according to Hughes and, therefore, away from blackness (Hughes).

That is, according to Hughes, by the black poet writing as a white poet and within the European model was to invalidate and ignore black culture and black experience. This culture and experience existed outside white hegemony, and, therefore, the poetry that reflected them did not have social status or received the same level of acclamation as white poetry. The next exclusion of blackness in poetry, therefore, was not any type of perpetuation by black poets, but a desire for this social status and by acclamation. The reasoning is logical: if the measurement of success was a white measurement, it would have been easier to achieve a high measurement of success with a white product. 

However, according to Hughes, the success with a white product (in this case, poetry) was not worth the loss of blackness that the product would have had if the creator had dominated the racial mountain, or "This urges Towards Whiteness"(Hughes). Returning this logic to at the beginning, if Countese Cullen would have dominated the racial mountain, I would have needed to want to be a black poet and would have written like this. While Hughes referred to blackness and whiteness as two different branches of the race in the United States, Nicolás Guillén imagined a world out of different and competing branches where Cubans would be identified not as black or black but a Cuban and tag -free mestizoracial.

"For now," Guillén wrote in the prologue of "Sóngoro Cosongo," "The spirit of Cuba is mestizo. And from the spirit to the skin the definitive color will come. Someday will be said ‘Cuban color’ ”(Guillén). It follows that, in this utopia without racial labels, racism would not exist. An Afro -Cuban would not exist and therefore could not be oppressed by a European Cuban because there would be no. The only identity would be Cuban, regardless of her skin. The idea is, from Hughes’ point of view. 

However, according to Guillén, a Cuba without racial labels was not only possible, but at the time of his poetry in the 30s, he was happening as Afro -Cubans and their culture were receiving a state raised in the country: “African injection inThis land, "said Guillén," it is so deep, and they cross and intersect in our well watered social hydrography so many capillary currents that would be the work of miniaturists unraveling the hieroglyph "(Guillén). You can see this "African injection" in Guillén’s poetry. "Beef of Montero" made reference to a rumbero, and the rumba was created by "a set of training influences: of indigenous peoples, African slaves and European conquerors"

Another poem, "The song of the bongo," not only referred to the bongó, which came to Cuba from Africa, but "Santa Barbara from one side, on the other side, Changó" (Guillén). Changó is an Orichá in the spiritual practices of the Yoruba, and currently exists in Cuba in the Santería, a "system of religious beliefs and cults that has as an essential element the worship of deities arising from syncretism between African beliefs and the Catholic religion" (Spanish dictionary). That said, Guillén did not argue that a cuba without racial labels already existed. In "Little Ode to a Black Cuban Boxing," can infer that it certainly did not exist. 

He wrote about "the envy of whites" and the danger that this envy brought to a black boxer with early talent but little judgment or education (Guillén). In addition, as Moore clarified in “Nationization Blackness: The Vogue of Afro -Cubanism,” racial divisions existed in Cuba in the 30s, the time of Guillén. For example, it is true, yes, that the rumba in "Bead of Montero" began as a stereotypically Afro -Cuban musical genre that eventually transcended political and racial limits to become a genre of national music that influenced the culture of the country. But, in Cuba in the 30s, Nacional did not mean universal or true acceptance.

It is clear that blackness and white. In addition, this parallelism was not the same. The national rumba of Cuba, for example, was not the Afro -Cuban rumba as it originated, but a laundering that eliminated blackness as the Cuban emphasized. And even then, some conservative whites could not accept the blackness that remained. In other words, it was not possible. 

Guillén’s potential cuba, and earlier José Martí, did not exist. But since the predominant culture was erasing blackness from its appropriations and adaptations, Guillén was reinforcing Cubanism in his poetry through language, characters, and topics, and thus imposing a recognition of the value of blackness. In "Look for money," for example, one of the issues is poverty: the wife was hungry, but only cookie rice was allowed, nothing else. Look for money, the wife said her husband, or I will leave and find a man who can. Poverty was a problem for many contemporary Afro -Cubans to Guillén. 

He wrote his stories and, more than that, he wrote how they talked on the street. In "Look for silver," the words were not from the Spanish of Spain or the Spanish of the European Cubans, but of the Afro -Cuban Spanish: "rice" was "Arró," "Look for money"To leave "it was" I’m going to run."Guillén gave Afro -Cuban a voice. But what happened to the idea of the blackness of these Afro -descendants and Cuba together? He developed. Martí said the race did not matter. Guillén said the race will not matter, after Afro -Cubans exist at the same level of European Cubans. 


You can see that, really, the race matters, both in the times of Martí and Guillén and currently in both Cuba and the United States. This misfortune of this fact is clear in literature, and, therefore, in culture. Hughes and his racial mountain were worried about without exploiting potential that has come from a denial of blackness, while Guillén focused on the recognition of the culture and blackness that already existed, but through these approaches, both was based onthe racial inequality and exclusion of Afro -descendants and as it was possible to overcome them.

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