Describe the poetic devices used in "The Ballad of the Landlord."

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Langston Hughes's "The Landlord" uses colloquial diction to help create a sense of place and person, with particular language constructs, such as "these steps is broken down," suggesting African American vernacular. This is a deliberate choice on the part of Hughes to support the idea that the poem represents the plight of many African Americans who are mistreated by their landlords. The poem, a "ballad," is, like many ballads, an expression of complaint, and is a poetic structure that has been associated with the songs and poetry of working class and disenfranchised groups.

The use of parallelism in the poem is in keeping with the ballad structure, but serves to emphasize the speaker's unhappiness with the situation as he repeats the phrase "Ten bucks" with increasing incredulity. "Ten bucks you say I owe you? / Ten bucks you say is due?" The structure helps us picture, and hear, the speaker's outrage rising to a crescendo before he utilizes the phrase in a parallel structure which pivots...

(The entire section contains 2 answers and 618 words.)

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