Langston Hughes: Research Paper

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Langston Hughes: Research Paper


"The Ballad of the Landlord" shows racism throughout the poem due to the unfair treatment of an African -American by the owner. Judge and press. The tenant has filed several complaints about his house, but the owner ignored them and asked for money for rent. As a result, the tenant decided not to pay any extra money until the owner fixed his house. This enraged the owner when he began to evict the house. The tenant threatened the man, which caused the owner to call the police. 

After the owner communicated with the police, he said that "he (the tenant) is trying to ruin the government". This statement reveals the reason for the owner to take revenge on the tenant for trying to dominate him. The judge decided to sentence the tenant at 90 days in jail without bail, followed by press coverage. The judge and the owner used their power to abuse and undermine minorities within the poem. The lessor did not receive any punishment for not maintaining maintenance inside the tenant’s house. It was not fair for the tenant to pay extra money for a house that was not in good condition, but the owner simply ignored his request.


Heritage can play an important role in the way an author perceives the value of himself along with his race. In the poem ‘La Ballad of the owner’ by Langston Hughes, Hughes sends a message of what life is like African -American. Hughes used many poems to exhibit his activism and the love he feels for his race. In poems like ‘Black speaks the rivers’ and ‘me too’, Hughes embraces their culture, even those around him did not feel comfortable with her. 

The empowerment of blacks was used to educate blacks about their history and to increase their self – esteem. Discrimination in the 1920s often caused African Americans.

The social climate of the 1920s in the United States was of great proportions. Events such as the Renaissance of Harlem, the great migration and economic prosperity of the stock market contributed to the reason why the 1920s were considered the "Decade of the Locos". However, while the United States prospered, the African -American community still faced difficulties. 

Difficulties such as racism and discrimination, which writers like the aforementioned, Langston Hughes, coined in their literature. To better understand racism, the writer Audrey Smedley wrote about him at her entrance to the encyclopedia entitled ‘Racism’. Smedley talks about how, “racism is the act of discriminating against someone based on their race. It was used against those whom they oppressed to gain control over them. Racism feeds on hatred and the power to oppress its victims to obey. 

Often when the victims do not resist, their actions face violently ”. Hughes realized this and not violently took the matter in his own hands with his poetry. In one of his deep pieces entitled ‘I, too’, Hughes describes the difficulties of an African -American man during this period of time. The racist, but flourishing atmosphere of the twenties had obvious impacts in his writing here because he writes specifically about a man who experiences racism in a restaurant and was forced to eat in the kitchen. 

This surreal scenario easily goes back to the real employers of the 1920 restaurants who made black workers ate in the kitchen. In the era of Hughes, segregation was a big problem, as seen in the article ‘Segregation’ of Flora Wadelington. In this article, she specifically highlights segregation in the 1920s and how whites and blacks went to separate businesses, sat in different parts of food establishments, went to different schools and lived separate lives as if they lived in two Americasseparate.

Hughes was hit by this time and used his stage and voice to portray these sad truths throughout his literary work. Another of his pieces during this time testifies to the racist social climate in which he wrote. Another example of Hughes is the poem ‘Song for a dark girl’, this poem is based on a young woman who sings about a loss. From a loved one to a lynching mob. This poem was written in the late 1920s, when African Americans fought for the illegalization of lynching mobs.

The poem is a sample of racism in the 1940s between a tenant and an owner. The black tenant had complaints about the stairs and the roof of his house, but the owner did not want to deal with that for discrimination. The lessor wants his money, but the tenant did not want to give him the money he owes him because he has not solved the problem.

 The owner then calls the police knowing that they would put themselves from his side due to his white privilege. The tenant ended up being arrested and taken to jail to receive 90 days without bail. The tenant’s punishment was not adjusted to the crime. The justice system abused his power to feed his racism against the tenant. The press also did this when labeling it as ‘threatening’ when all he wanted was to fix his house (for which he had to pay).


In conclusion, the ways in which cultural studies have affected the perspective of Langston Hughes in his poem "The Ballad of the landowner" is because of his experiences of racism, education of inheritance and the environment of his time. Racism in the 1920s made African Americans less likely to succeed and live a productive lifestyle. Hughes’s experience with this difficulty gave him an advantage to spread awareness and strengthen from the discrimination he faced. 

As a result, Hughes used his work to spread the empowerment of blacks within his community. Discrimination against African Americans often made them feel as if they were second -class citizens. Hughes wanted his people to know his value and be proud of his inheritance, even when others around him wanted to do the opposite. 

Segregation, Jim Crow laws, Lynch mobs, racism, and much more weighed on African Americans at this time and began to feel defeated. Hughes’s work inspired his African -American companions to challenge these racial inconveniences, and that is why he not only proved to be a great port and writer, but also a strong activist and leader.

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