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Langston Hughes writes about the lives and struggles of African Americans


Langston Hughes writes about the lives and struggles of African Americans. For this Short Writing Assignment, you will consider your own heritage, identity, community or aspect of yourself. Perhaps you want to consider, for example, your regional or ethnic heritage, nationality, or gender history. You may consider your community of origin: perhaps you come from a specific urban neighborhood or a farming community. Whatever your choice is, research and locate a classic poem or poem from an earlier generation. It is recommended that you use one of the sources listed below. After this, find a newer or contemporary poem which carries on the theme, culture, history or concerns of the legacy poem you have chosen. Just as “On the Pulse of the Morning" (and Amanda Gorman's "The Hill We Climb") echoes the oratorial style and precise diction of “Let America Be America Again,” consider the craft and literary aspects of legacy as well.

Research your poems. Write a three (3) paragraphs drawing connections between the older poem and the contemporary poem. Discuss each poem individually, indicating theme, literary elements and devices and its influence in its time. Make a clear argument linking the newer poem to the older poem in light of these aspects. 


Some sites to explore:


To complete this assignment you should:

  • Read the assigned poems, focusing on the idea of legacy between them.
  • Choose two similarly-connected poems. Personal choice is based on personal relevance of the poems.
  • Identify connections between the literary and thematic elements of the poems. Identify common intent, voice, style, and tone of the speakers.
  • Compose a 3-paragraph discussion, as explained above. Focus one paragraph on each poem. The third paragraph will make clear how one poem establishes the legacy and the other follows it.
  • Make sure that your first paragraph begins with a strong introductory sentence and your third ends with a strong concluding sentence.
  • You may indicate personal connection to the poems.
  • Use M.L.A. Style format and conventions

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