"The city both offers and restricts possibility." How would you respond to this statement in regards to the poems by Claude McKay and Langston Hughes, listed below?   Please discuss Claude McKay's poems "When Dawn Comes to the City," "Subway Wind," "The Tropics in New York,"and "Drama for Winter Night (Fifth Avenue)"; and Langston Hughes' pieces "Second Generation: New York," "Harlem Sweeties" (both poems), "Manhattan Island," "Pushcart Man," "Harlem Night Club," "The Weary Blues," "Good Morning," "Harlem Dance Hall," and "Trumpet Player."

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The poems by Claude McKay mentioned above suggest that life in the city more often restricts possibilities than offering them. Such restrictions are emphasized, for instance, in his poem titled “When Dawn Comes to the City.” Despite its potentially hopeful title, most of this poem's imagery of the city is dark and bleak. This bleakness is emphasized all the more because the city is contrasted with an “island of the sea” that is full of beautifully rural sights and sounds. In this poem as in others by McKay, the city is associated with restrictions, while the countryside is associated with vitality.

Much the same kind of contrast is emphasized in McKay’s poem titled “Subway Wind,” which describes how the laughter of schoolchildren emerging from subway cars

. . . is swallowed in the deafening roar

Of captive wind that moans for fields and seas;

Seas cooling warm where native schooners drift

Through sleepy waters, while gulls wheel and sweep . . . .

Here again, then, the city is...

(The entire section contains 522 words.)

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