Langston Hughes’ poem “Let America be America Again”, encapsulates the cruel illusion of the American dream. The American dream was designed to elucidate equality, justice, and freedom for all mankind. However, it is within this poem that the true ideology of the Western cannon is exemplified. As a result, Hughes pleas for the reinstatement of the true American dream that the “pioneers” (36) sought after. This poem is his attempt to resurge the true American dream. America needs to go back to be the land of love. This poem uses the vices of alliteration and repetition. The parenthetical line breaks in between the stanza serves as the author’s inner voice which ultimately accumulate power. Hughes reiterates that “(America was never America to me)” (5) to exude assertion. He emphasizes the systematic oppression endured by conveying the evolution of America within poem.
“Who made America,
Whose sweat and blood, whose faith and pain,
Whose hand at the foundry, whose plow in the rain,” (68-70)
This stanza calls us to question the who’s labor helped shape America. Plenty of blood, sweat and tears shed were those of the minority. Factory workers, farmers and those in other labor industries are portrayed as the disenfranchised. For many, the new free world does not reflect the heaven they so desired. Instead many have realized that their efforts to escape persecution was futile, as they too are reduced to harsh conditions in America. He concludes that the ideal America is a figment of imagination and exists only in dreams. The weak are preyed upon in this “dog eat dog” society. Later, Hughes realizes that the humble and hungry do not get to drink from the cup of plenty; despite their hard work and ambition, they remain outside the margins of success and comfort.
Hughes longs for the day when the marginally oppressed reap the benefits of founding America. Hughes call for action to take place. Despite the conditions, Hughes faith remains unconquerable and unbowed. His wants America to be a place where people can thrive and flourish without regards to race or creed. The poem contrasts his hopes for America with the reality of the current conditions. Those that fall outside of the socially and economically dominant racial, religious, and social groups must seek ways to reclaim America. Hughes profoundly calls for the Negros, immigrants, and oppressed to rise and redefine American equality. He states in his poem that it is time to take back our land again America. America is now currently plagued by discrimination and greed, Hughes believes that it can be improved. This poem invokes a sense of willpower. After realizing all of the oppression endured, I have no choice but to strive for success and defy the odds. The poem’s intent was to resurge the American dream, and it did just that!