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What is the tone of Langston Hughes' "I, Too, Sing America"?Please give the words that...

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truongerrrs | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted March 6, 2012 at 2:21 PM via web

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What is the tone of Langston Hughes' "I, Too, Sing America"?

Please give the words that help set the tone.

I am the darker brother.
They send me to eat in the kitchen
When company comes,
But I laugh,
And eat well,
And grow strong.

Tomorrow,
I'll be at the table
When company comes.
Nobody will dare
Say to me,
"Eat in the kitchen,"
Then.

Besides,
They'll see how beautiful I am
And be ashamed--

I, too, am America.

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rexnmickey | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted March 6, 2012 at 9:32 PM (Answer #1)

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The tone in this poem is one of self-pride. He is treated as if he is an embarrassment to the white people, and made to feel inferior to them.   But he is also made to feel inferior within his race as well due to the darker hue of his skin. The poet is trying to show how America “covers up” her racial discrimination “problems.” The tone changes throughout the poem. In the first line, the tone is patriotic. The line, “I, too, sing America,” indicates the national anthem, and symbolizes unity throughout the nation. In the next stanza, the tone is of anger and strength. The man is enraged at how he is treated, but he knows he is strong enough to fight back. This is shown in the line, “But I laugh,/ and eat well,/ And grow strong.”  In essence he lets the world know that no matter how you treat me I have self-pride and I will survive.

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