I need help analyzing Langston Hughes' poem "Parisian Beggar Woman."  What does Hughes mean in his poem "Parisian beggar Woman" when in the last lines he writes "nobody but death will kiss you...

I need help analyzing Langston Hughes' poem "Parisian Beggar Woman."

 

What does Hughes mean in his poem "Parisian beggar Woman" when in the last lines he writes "nobody but death will kiss you again?" Does this poem relate to his encounters with Paris?

The Poem: Once you were young. Now, hunched in the cold, Nobody cares That you are old. Once you were beautiful. Now, in the street, No one remembers Your lips were sweet. Oh, withered old woman Of rue Fintaine, Nobody but death Will kiss you again.

 

1 Answer | Add Yours

Top Answer

mwestwood's profile pic

mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

With the ultimate goal of poetry being a means of fresh connection to the experiences of life, Langston Hughes writes about an old woman of Paris who has lived on a street called Fintaine probably for many, many years.  Since the word fin means "end," it is fitting that she dwells on this street as she is near the finish of her life, for "nobody but death" will kiss her again.  Interestingly, too, is the fact that rue means street, it also denotes regret in English.

So, this line of Hughes lends poignancy to the lonely life that the old woman lives on Rue Fintine.  For, with regret, there she resides alone in her last, finishing days with no one to visit her and kiss her on the cheek or lips.  No one will come for her and take her out; she waits alone for death to stop for her.  And, as her escort, death will lay his lips upon her and steal life with his kiss.

We’ve answered 318,991 questions. We can answer yours, too.

Ask a question