I need to find the literary element(s) in the poem "Genius Child" by Langston Hughes.This is a song for the genius child. Sing it softly, for the song is wild. Sing it softly as ever you can - Lest...

I need to find the literary element(s) in the poem "Genius Child" by Langston Hughes.

This is a song for the genius child.
Sing it softly, for the song is wild.
Sing it softly as ever you can -
Lest the song get out of hand.

Nobody loves a genius child.

Can you love an eagle,
Tame or wild?
Can you love an eagle,
Wild or tame?
Can you love a monster
Of frightening name?

Nobody loves a genius child.

Kill him - and let his soul run wild.

Langston Hughes

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Susan Hurn | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

There are several literary elements at work in the poem, the most obvious element being the author's use of metaphor. The poem itself is "a song" and the "genius child" is described metaphorically as both "an eagle" and "a monster." These metaphors can be interpreted in various ways, depending upon the reader's point of view and personal experience.

Other literary elements include the poem's refrain (Nobody loves a genius child.) and its startling and ironic thesis: "Kill him - and let his soul run wild."

Also, some alliteration can be found in the poem's first stanza with its repetition of the "s" sound [italics added here]: 

This is a song for the genius child.

Sing it softly for the song is wild.

Sing it softly as ever you can-

Lest the song get out of hand.

Finally, the poem includes perfect rhyme (wild/child and tame/name) and slant rhyme (can/hand). There is no regular rhyme scheme or meter in the poem.


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