What is the meaning of Langston Hughes' poem "Long Trip?"

1 Answer | Add Yours

literaturenerd's profile pic

literaturenerd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

Langston Hughes' poem "Long Trip" is a very descriptive poem which describes the ocean. The language Hughes' applies proves to be image ridden and filled with motion (like the water described in the poem). 

Meaning of a poem varies from reader to reader. What one reader may take from a poem may be very different from what another reader takes form the same poem. 

For some readers, the meaning of the poem is positive. The open ocean surrounds the speaker and the reader (denoted by "we"). Others may define "we" as the speaker and another passenger on the water vessel the two are on. The water moves rhythmically (just as the poem does). The poem's intent (or meaning) is to soothe. 

On the other hand, other readers may look at the poem negatively. The two on the open water are lost, left to the mercy of the rolling water. There is no hope for the two upon the water (denoted by "day, night / night, day"). They are lost. Here, the meaning of the poem is hopelessness (the two are lost in a "wilderness of water"). 

Sources:

We’ve answered 318,915 questions. We can answer yours, too.

Ask a question