Explain the poem "I, Too," by Langston Hughes. 

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Langston Hughes wrote the poem “I, Too,” forty-five years before Dr. Martin Luther King spoke the words:  “I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” 

The poem was published in 1925.  Hughes wrote about the frustrations of the black man in his poetry.  He never gave up because he envisioned an America in which black and white men would eat at the same table and be considered equal Americans.

The setting of the poem is “everywhere America” that believed that black men were not Americans or equal to the white men as human beings.   

The narration is first person with the poet as the narrator.  Hughes was considered the foremost of the Harlem Renaissance poets.   When he wrote or spoke, the black man listened because what Hughes said was exactly what the black man felt. The poem is told in the present tense.

The form of the poem is free verse.  It is written in five brief stanzas.  The sentences are short and conversational in fluidity, yet the tone is strong.  

1st stanza

The title of the poem is a reference to the poem by Walt Whitman titled “I Hear America Singing.” Hughes’ poem enhances the idea that “Hey, wait a minute, I too am an American.  I can sing also." I am an American.  I was born in America and so were my parents.  Just because I am Black does not take away my patriotism or love for my country. 

2nd stanza

Hughes refers to the black man metaphorically as “the darker brother.”   All Americans have something in common: their heritage. Unfortunately in the time that Hughes was writing, the black man was not considered an equal in any respect.  He was not...

(The entire section contains 619 words.)

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