illustrated portrait of American poet and author Langston Hughes

Langston Hughes

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Student Question

What is a compelling research question about Langston Hughes?

Expert Answers

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I always think it is worthwhile to examine how a particular author's work reflects the historical era in which they lived. Langston Hughes's work was central to the Harlem Renaissance, which gave birth to a significant amount of black art in various forms during the 1920s and 1930s. During this era, there was a growing movement for the equal treatment of minorities in America, and that can be heard in the works of Langston Hughes.

So your question might be something like this:

How does the work of Langston Hughes reflect both the struggles and strength of black culture in the early part of the twentieth century?

You could then examine some of his poetry which reflects these qualities, such as the following:

eNotes has some great study guides for the work of Langston Hughes, so be sure to check those out as you prepare your position. As you study the poetry, you should focus on images of both hardship or exclusion and of power and resilience. You could examine how both reflect the experience of black people during his era long before the Civil Rights Era, when Jim Crow Laws deeply divided America.

I hope this has provided some guidance as you prepare your initial ideas. Good luck!

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