In “Song for a Dark Girl,” African-American poet Langston Hughes (1902-1967) employs allusions to bring into the poem external contexts that contribute to its theme and tone. The primary allusion is repeated at the beginning of each stanza: “Way Down South in Dixie” (1, 5, 9). The phrase refers to the refrain of the famous mid-nineteenth-century song “Dixie” that celebrates the glory of the American South. Ironically, it was often sung in minstrel shows by white musicians performing in "blackface," a popular theatrical convention of the day that patronized and demeaned...
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