Langston Hughes is identified as one of the leaders of the Harlem Renaissance because he was one of the individuals who went through the, “frustration experienced later by quite a number of Harlemites, as upper-class Whites quasi-dictated their cultural standards and expectations for Black arts” (Delgado-Tall 290). Therefore, as a leader in the Harlem Renaissance, Hughes undoubtedly advocated for revolution. Though a significant part of his push for revolution was inspired by the need to fight against racial discrimination as indicated in many studies, the revolution was also characterized by Marxist undertones. For example, the mention of “upper-class Whites” captures class differences that partially instigated the revolution. Even so, most studies on the literary works on Langston Hughes focus on racism but they do not extend the discussion on the relationship between his literary works and Marxism. Therefore, this research will contribute to the understanding of Hughes’ literary works by focusing on Marxism as presented in them. Specific focus will be given to literary works such as Simple and the Ways of White folks short stories. The proposed research will shed light on the influence of Hughes’ immediate socioeconomic context on his literary works. Through this, there can be a better understanding of his contribution to Marxist literature.
Review of the Literature and Research Questions
According to Delgado-Tall, part of the Harlem Renaissance led by Langston Hughes was meant to fight against cultural dictation by the White upper-class (290). Thus, the fight against oppression captures elements of class conflict which are characterized by revolution and upheaval. On this basis, some of the main research questions which this research seeks to answer include:
1. How do the identified literary works of Hughes utilize setting, characters, language, plot and working-class symbols to portray oppression?
2. How is the material dialectic represented in Hughes’ identified literary works?
3. What is Hughes’ treatment of the concept of revolution in the selected literary works?
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