Are there any themes that are the same in Hughes' work compared to "Everyday Use" by Alice Walker?

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clairewait eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think the best way to answer this question is to consider the historical context and identity of each author.  Langston Hughes was one of the first poets of the Harlem Renaissance, the artistic movement that started when African Americans in Harlem, NY began devoting themselves to art, music, poetry, prose and dance that celebrated who they were and where they had come from.  This was the only the beginning of what would eventually become a very strong literary genre in the United States.  When you look at Hughes' poetry, (ie: "Theme for English B" and "The Negro Speaks of Rivers") it is full of the celebration of his heritage, the Black man speaking up for himself, and the idea that though black people and white people possess inherent differences, they are all still human and therefore, at the core, not especially different from one another.

Alice Walker is a modern day, female author who has in everything she's written, continued the same sentiments that began with the Harlem Renaissance.  "Everyday Use" focuses on the latter part of the Civil Rights Movement and the black woman.  Society is changing, but Civil Rights and Harlem Renaissance themes remain largely the same.  There is a focus on and celebration of heritage, a desire to for authenticity and equality, and the sense of power that comes from having an outlet to reveal these feelings.

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Everyday Use

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