Both poems call for change. "Ain't I a Woman?" calls for women to turn the world the "right side up again," and "Let America Be America Again" calls for America to return to being a land of equality and opportunity, where "never kings connive nor tyrants scheme" or "any man...
Both poems call for change. "Ain't I a Woman?" calls for women to turn the world the "right side up again," and "Let America Be America Again" calls for America to return to being a land of equality and opportunity, where "never kings connive nor tyrants scheme" or "any man be crushed by one above."
Both poems also explore the plight of racism. In "Ain't I a Woman?" Truth speaks of the children she has seen "sold off to slavery," and of bearing "de lash" of a slave master. In "Let America Be America Again" Hughes speaks about how his ancestors were violently "torn from Black Africa's strand."
Both poems are also written in the first-person perspective, from the point of view of someone who has been disenfranchised and alienated, and denied the rights and opportunities that America prides itself upon. Sojourner Truth is writing as an African American woman in the early nineteenth century, born into slavery. Langston Hughes is writing as an African American man in the middle of the twentieth century. Both Truth and Hughes would have suffered racism, and both campaigned against it.
Stylistically, there are several other similarities between the poems. Both, for example, use repetition to emphasize their main points. Truth repeats the rhetorical question, "And ar'n't I a woman?" at the end of four out of the first five stanzas. The question is intended to highlight the difference between what society expects of and for a woman on the one hand, and what Truth herself is capable of and has experienced on the other. Society, for example, says that women are the weaker sex, and "dat womin needs to be helped into carriages." Truth replies by exclaiming that she has "ploughed, and planted," and yet she is a woman.
Hughes also uses repetition when he repeats the phrase "I am the." He declares that he is "the poor white, fooled and pushed apart," and the "red man driven from the land," and also the "Negro bearing slavery's scars." The implication here is that Langston considers himself an American and, therefore, feels the pain that each American feels, regardless of race.