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During its irrepressible activity, the Harlem Negro district on the outskirts of New York seethed with passions and creativity. Negro jazz sounds filled the entire United States, and jazz musicians and composers, such as Duke Ellington became favorites of the whole both in the country and abroad. The poets of the movement gained popularity, as well (Hutchinson, 1997). Thus, the works of two poets have been chosen for the analysis: Jean Toomer and his poem Harvest Song and Fine Clothes to the Jew by Langston Hughes.

An American novelist and poet Jean Toomer pictured the Americans regardless of their racial characteristics. This can be proved by the fact that he never tried to mortify the new Negroes in his poetry, which is characterized by the brilliant use of the poetic tradition of rhyme and meter. In his creative work, Toomer strived to find the roots of American modernism in the black literature. He showed the relationship of the literary process with social and cultural life, with such events and phenomena as reconstruction, racial terror and Negro riots in the South, World War I, emigration from the "black belt" and the emergence of the Negro urban culture, entertainment industry of big cities and the emergence of black bohemia (Toomer, 1988). The poem Harvest Song was perhaps the most famous one included in Toomer’s novel Cane which is believed to be his most significant work. The poem is written in the name of an African American slave and is aimed at reproduction of his thoughts and feelings during the harvesting. “I am a reaper. (Eoho!) All my oats cradled. But I am too fatigued to bind them. And I hunger. I crack a grain. It has no taste to it. My throat is dry…” (Toomer, 1988). This way, Toomer illustrates a new Negro who is the embodiment of the whole slavery. The man has lost his will to live as he is hungry, deaf, and blind; and he is helpless in his hardships. Here, the elements of the “double consciousness” can be easily traced as the reader sees the man who is just a part of labor force. He is black; thus he has no rights to think, to feel, or to speak, so he cannot be seen as a rightful American citizen. In this poem, the author tries to show the audience the conditions the slaves faced in bonds.

In parallel with Jean Toomer, Langston Hughes depicts the everyday life of the new Negroes. The poet sought realistic characters and wrote out his own experience (Hughes changed a number of workplaces and had an experience of an elevator operator, a porter, and a sailor). He wrote about valets, lifters, sailors, and workers. Obviously, the theme of work was the uppermost in his poetry. As well as Toomer, Hughes did not differentiate white and black people. Overall, the author is pessimistic in race relations. The evaluated poem is Mulatto which refers to the poetry collection Fine Clothes to the Jew. Due to the author’s poor relations with his father, the poem can be considered as an autobiographical one. Langston Hughes was rejected by his father, therefore, he compares the pain and anger of being rejected by parents with the feelings of those who were rejected by the society. “A nigger night, a nigger joy, a little yellow bastard boy. Naw, you ain’t my brother. Niggers ain’t my brother. Not ever. Niggers ain’t my brother.” The prevailing motives of Langston Hughes poetry are melancholy, pain and frustration.Moreover, throughout his works, the poet tried to convey the religious nature of the Negro folklore (Laurie, 2004).

In conclusion, it is necessary to say that the works of the both poets and race consciousness, which can be traced in them, influenced many foreign black writers. Both of them were the earliest innovators of the new literary art form jazz poetry and thus made a contribution in the development of the American literature of the 20th century.

Even if it seemed you felt the pain,

You did not.

Even if it seemed you have already lost your fortune card

Because you felt the pain of broken heart.

You never lived black people`s life in world without

Sympathy and gratitude.

Even if it seemed the life was hard,

It was not.

Even if it seemed you felt the pain,

You did not.

Even if it seemed the life has not begun and is already over,

Remember days of happiness and last night lover,

Who has already left

but always will be in your mind.

Even if it seemed the life was hard,

It was not.

Even if it seemed you felt the pain,

You did not.

Even if it seemed the black line has already won the white

And only white which left is wine -

Don`t rush,

Your life is not the rainbow.

Even if it seemed the life was hard,

It was not.

Even if it seemed you felt the pain,

You did not.

Even if it seemed you haven`t been as happy as you wanted,

Don’t panic, making mind disjoined.

You never knew the guy named Willy,

Who has been born even without willing

To be happy.

He was nineteen, however looked as he was ninety.

He was not homeless, but always was untidy

As only happiness he had

Was food and cap on his already boldly head.

He has been born in not

The proper time and place.

He was those one from other race.

He was not white, however had the soul

Maybe twice whiter than those called

White people.

 Even if it seemed the life was hard,

It was not.

Even if it seemed you felt the pain,

You did not.

Life should be treated like the major price.

And know the definition of happiness precise:

Do not expect the good to happen all the time,

Be better every day yourself and do not care for each dime.

Elie Wiesel’s Stories
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