The symbolic meaning Of Harlem To The Poet

The symbolic meaning Of Harlem To The Poet

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The first line of Langston Hughes poem ‘’ Harlem” describes Harlem as a building that is made of stones and bricks which draw the attention of many. Perhaps, its insides are also said to have a lot of admirable staffs, the hopes that are not fading away, the dreams that are real, the music tones ‘’ the JAZZ” a hand that is not giving up and it’s ready to work all the days. Harlem was strong on the inside and the outside as well. The key symbol of Harlem in the poem reinforces its central theme: the limitations of the American dream for the African American, the hardship that the black people were going through (Lewis, 1995).

In the early days before civilization, America was still racially divided. The African American was saddled with the Legacy of Slavery “A hand that is working all the days long’’. These rendered them second-class citizen to the eyes of the whites and the laws as well, for example setting up different public schools for the whites and blacks during those days (Lewis, 1995). They were subjected to tears and pain that were accumulating each day. Therefore, Hughes reflects his difficult experience as a black man in America: he comes with a sympathetic, hopeful, enraged tone in the poem.


Perhaps, the poet gives a story of the racial discrimination of the blacks in the land of the whites. The blacks went through pain as they were mocked by the whites. However, they were very hopeful that some days this will end and they will live a free life and freedom will come for them. That is why the Poet talks of a dream that is not ending. However, the ultimate message of the poem gave hope for the blacks that with hope, dreams, prayers that keep you going, smiles that will come after tears, and togetherness nothing is impossible (Lewis, 1995).

Work cited

Lewis, D. L. (1995). The portable Harlem renaissance reader. Penguin Group USA.

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