How would you write an explication on the poem "Song for a Dark Girl" by Langston Hughes?

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A poetry explication typically shows the connection between what a poem is trying to say and what stylistic devices the poet uses to get this across. "Song for a Dark Girl " is about a black man lynched by whites in the American South and he is being lamented...

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A poetry explication typically shows the connection between what a poem is trying to say and what stylistic devices the poet uses to get this across. "Song for a Dark Girl" is about a black man lynched by whites in the American South and he is being lamented by his young lover, the titular girl, so this is what the poem is about. However, what sort of style and devices do poet Langston Hughes employ to get this across?

When preparing to write a poetry explication, it is best to examine the poem in question for literary devices.

Here are a few elements of the poem you could examine in your explication:

The allusion to the Old South standard "Dixie" in the refrain "Way Down South in Dixie" gives the poem's frightening subject matter an ironic, even grotesque tone, since "Dixie" is an upbeat melody associated with the glories of the Old South.

Christ imagery and allusions are also at play. The lynch mob victim is hung on "a cross roads tree," which is an allusion to the crucifixion and Christ's similar unjust execution. However, the speaker addresses "white Jesus" and addresses him in an accusatory tone, suggesting the hypocrisy of white Christians who murder innocent people yet consider themselves religious.

The identity of the speaker is also significant. She is described in the title as a "girl" rather than a woman, suggesting youth and innocence. A woman experienced in the ways of the world might have a different tone to her lamentation than a young girl's. By making the speaker young, Hughes is also adding an element of innocence lost to this tragic poem.

In conclusion, pick two or three devices, then discuss them in detail. Look closely at the syntax, rhythm, and tone of the poem, then examine what effect they have on you as a reader. That is the best way to go about writing an explication.

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