Symbolism of Time in the Work of Langston Hughes
Wafaa M. El-Deftar

Of the many books, essays, and articles written on Langston Hughes, none has embarked upon an investigation of his use of the “power of time” in his writings, whether verse or prose. For Hughes, resorting to time stems from many sources foremost among which is his desire for a distinct ethnic history that buttresses the Black sense of belonging and, thereby, eliminates all feelings of alienation and solitude. Hughes’s insistence on a distinct black art utilizing black themes and styles is an affirmation of black existence, but his unremitting usage of time is even a greater insistence on planting roots for such “existence,” on tracing antiquity and, hence, historicity for his people. To transcend the continuity of such an existence, Hughes also resorts to the future dimension of time—usually in the form of a dream which is, sometimes, intertwined with the past dimension to foster the power of such a dream. However, Hughes, whose mastery of language allows him to shape time as his substance, also uses time as a device for creating irony to expose the absurdity of the fallacious notion of a "superior" white culture in a way that is never bitter or extreme.

Full Text: PDF      DOI: 10.15640/ijll.v2n4a7