Let America Be America Again by Langston Hughes

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What is the tone of "Let America Be America Again" by Langston Hughes?

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At the beginning of the poem, the tone of the speaker seems to be at once pleading, hopeful, and patriotic. The speaker is pleading for America to return to the America it once used to be—a country for "dreamers" and a country of "Liberty" and "opportunity." The first three lines of the poem begin with the word "Let," which emphasizes the speaker's pleading tone.

In parentheses between the first three stanzas, there is a counterpoint voice, which says, "America never was America to me" and "There's never been equality for me." This second, counterpoint voice undercuts the pleading, patriotic tone of the first voice and introduces to the poem a more melancholic, hopeless tone. This tone also becomes angry and perhaps resentful later in the poem when the second voice declares, "I am the poor white, fooled and pushed apart" and "I am the Negro bearing slavery's scars." This second voice refers to the "same old stupid plan / Of dog eat dog" and describes an America in which the "mighty crush the...

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