Poems and Short Stories

Reading the short stories from Vivian Morris, “Negro Laundry Workers” and Frank Byrd and Terry Roth, “Street Cries and Criers” differs greatly from “Let America Be America Again”, a poem by Langston Hughes in many ways. The differences in these short stories and poem are difficult to note; however, the length, rhyme, rhythm and the language used can telling them apart. In these short stories, the language used is continuous (prose), condensed, straightforward and easier to comprehend.

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The story line is depicted over a restricted period of time. On the contrary, the form of writing in the poem focuses on stanzas and separate lines. The poem is based on a single thought or event with deliberate attention in the use of few specific words aimed at capturing the emotions and views of the highlighted affairs. One needs to keenly analyze the poem in a certain mindset in order to discern the message put across; hence, comprehension is not as forthright as that of short stories.

“The man who passed”, was written by Regina Andrews in the 1920 to capture the common literary themes of the Harlem Renaissance including “passing” and lynching (Whitmire, 2007). It was a play written by a woman showing how a male protagonist dearly missed his black Harlem friends who lived in New York City “passing” as white men. Harlem Renaissance was a cultural movement where many black writers and musicians challenged the previous stereotypical display of their image. The movement gained support and growth to the level of getting financial assistance, mentoring and increased publication and recording opportunities. The term ‘passing” is significant to this story because it is coined to show how African America actors pretended to be white in order to seek a life full of greater opportunities and to avoid racism and other forms of discrimination that were the preserve of the whites (Whitmire, 2007).

Bascom, L. C. (1999). A Renaissance in Harlem: Lost Voices of an American Community.
William Morrow.
Hughes, L., Frasconi, A., & Frasconi, A. (2004). Let America Be America Again. George
Whitmire, E. (2007). Regina Andrews and the New York Public Library. Libraries & the
Cultural Record, 42(4), 409-421.

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