How does "Song for a Dark Girl" by Langston Hughes relate to the Modernism time period?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The poem relates to Modernism in a couple of ways.  The most dominant connection is the alienation that is articulated by the speaker.  The feeling of alienation that the speaker experiences throughout the poem is reflective of the division of consciousness articulated in Modernism.  The matter of fact manner in which the opening lines depict the hanging of a loved one, along with the questioning of religion's purpose in such a setting is akin to the Modernist idea of how the protagonist is fundamentally different from the rest of the world.  The speaker might be saying these elements without emotion, but their experiences of seeing someone they love bruised, beaten, and hung from a tree makes them separate from all other societies.  At the same time, there is fundamental disconnect between the supposed progress of the world and the experiences of the speaker.  Something is adrift in a world that shows advancement and progress, but still features loved ones hanging from trees without much in way of redemption being offered.  This, too, is a Modernist sentiment.

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