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Langston Hughes's "Trumpet Player"

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  1. Introduction
  2. The words 'vibrant hair tamed down'
  3. The tone of the poem
  4. Stereo types and politicized racism
  5. Conclusion
  6. Bibliography

Langston Hughes's poem, "Trumpet Player", is both a celebration of and reach for a Black identity. The poem's vivid imagery and careful metaphors connote to a theme consistent among Hughes's work. The poem quietly speaks of oppression, of a violent past, of desperation and ongoing struggle, of a search for identity, but at the same time celebrates the grace and beauty of the "Negro." The poem's rhythmic structure and rhyming scheme give it a musical flow appropriate to the title and the subject matter.

[...] Langston Hughes's "Trumpet Player" Langston Hughes's poem, "Trumpet Player", is both a celebration of and reach for a Black identity. The poem's vivid imagery and careful metaphors connote to a theme consistent among Hughes's work. The poem quietly speaks of oppression, of a violent past, of desperation and ongoing struggle, of a search for identity, but at the same time celebrates the grace and beauty of the "Negro." The poem's rhythmic structure and rhyming scheme give it a musical flow appropriate to the title and the subject matter. [...]


[...] Despite "slave ships," the "crack of whips," and "vibrant hair tamed down," it retains the beauty and austerity of ancient kings. This man is a triumphant spirit, triumphant but none the less a tired soul, hence the references to "ecstasy distilled from old desire--" tired but not conquered, troubled but still mellow. The music in this poem serves as a mechanism by which the trumpet player survives not only a violent past and oppressed present, but even relishes in the even older and more ancient beauty of his ancestry. [...]

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