“Let America be America Again” by Langston Hughes is a poem dedicated to the author’s pain about an impossible American dream. The dream of a virtuous republic, which America has not still reached, but achieving this dream is a goal of every generation (Gorski, 2019). The author tells about what the country could have been but has not become; however, it could be in the future. According to Wood (2017), it is a view of what America should be, namely, free for all people. In the poem, the author uses some poetic techniques to enhance the effect on the reader. One such technique is repetition, whereby a few words are repeated to help the reader be determined in the issue of the struggle for freedom and equality. One of the words being repeated is “America,” which also serves as a connotation. The word “America” itself means the country’s name, but this word carries a deeper meaning for Americans. It is home, security, but most importantly – freedom, equality, and democracy.
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The word “bondsman” is also interesting in the context of denotation and connotation. It means a bonded person, but it also has deeper historical associations. They are associated with an entire era in the American history, namely with the times of slavery; thereby, they have a deeper negative connotation. The repetition helps the author to strengthen the influence on the reader and transmit his idea clearly. In addition, Masur (2020) claims that the poem mourns the consequences of Depression, where millions are left just with the dream, which is almost dead. Parentheses were used to attract more attention to the fact that the author has not seen an “ideal America.”
Wood, D. (2017). The embodiment of culture: Race and class in schools. Page Publishing Inc.
Masur, P. L. (2020). The sum of our dreams: A concise history of America. Oxford University Press.
Gorski, P. (2019). American covenant: A history of civil religion from the puritans to the present. Princeton University Press.