Harlem Questions and Answers
by Langston Hughes

Start Your Free Trial

What is the significance of the title "Harlem"?

Expert Answers info

Nona Stiltner eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2018

write750 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences

Since the Harlem Renaissance, Harlem, a burrow of New York City, has been tied to both the realities of oppression of black people and the expressions of black people. The title, "Harlem", perfectly captures the crossroads of this expression and oppression that Langston Hughes is referencing in his poem. Within the streets of Harlem, particularly during the Harlem Renaissance, the dreams of black creativity has been realized through spoken word, art, and music, while the blood of black people has spilled out into the same streets through racism and oppression. Harlem represents both a dream and a nightmare, art and oppression, the sounds of music filling the streets, and the sounds of guns shot by police and bodies hitting the pavement. In a few short lines, Hughes captures the essence of this reality.

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

Lauren Willson, M.A. eNotes educator | Certified Educator

briefcaseCollege Professor

bookM.A. from Radford University


calendarEducator since 2017

write1,502 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Law and Politics

In Langston Hughes's "Harlem," the author is discussing the injustices done to African Americans in America, many of whom lived in Harlem, New York; the poem is part of a larger collection...

(The entire section contains 3 answers and 675 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now


Further Reading:

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

Brayan Effertz eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2012

write892 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences

Further Reading:

check Approved by eNotes Editorial