What is the tone of Langston Hughes' "I, Too, Sing America"? Please give the words that help set the tone.I, too, sing America. I am the darker brother.They send me to eat in the kitchenWhen...
What is the tone of Langston Hughes' "I, Too, Sing America"?
Please give the words that help set the tone.
I, too, sing America.
I am the darker brother.
They send me to eat in the kitchen
When company comes,
But I laugh,
And eat well,
And grow strong.
I'll be at the table
When company comes.
Nobody will dare
Say to me,
"Eat in the kitchen,"
They'll see how beautiful I am
And be ashamed--
I, too, am America.
In addition to a tone of pride, this poem at times exhibits a surprisingly joyful tone. I say this tone is surprising because the poem wrestles with a very unsavory subject: America's racist history. However, for all that, when Hughes announces his ability to "laugh" (5), to "eat well" (6), and to "grow strong" (7), he also announces his capacity for joy in the face of a racist society.
Something else that contributes to this poem's subtly joyful tone is its allusion to the poetry of Walt Whitman. Whitman often characterizes himself as "singing" of America, and this process involves celebrating the vast and diverse array of life in America, including the good, the bad, and everything in between. By saying that he's also singing of America, Hughes consciously responds to Whitman and the joyful tone of his poetry. Additionally, Hughes seems to be noting that, as a white man, Whitman might not have actually "sung" all of America after all. In that case, Hughes steps up to sing the verses Whitman might have missed.
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