In the eighth grade, I read Hughes’ short story, "Thank you, Ma’am." I wasn't too impressed with it at the time, but I have since dramatically changed my opinion on the American poet. Langston Hughes is by far the best compilation of short stories I’ve read. In 15 pages or less, author Langston Hughes quite simply depicts life. He depicts the life of hard working African Americans, men at sea, struggling artists and musicians as well as their proud parents. Each story is sensational yet different; whether it is in theme, plot or quirky characters. Hughes’ tone in each story is clear, distinctive and enticing. Every word had me hooked. I empathized with the characters that were down on their luck. I felt disdain towards the characters who had everything. I was heartbroken when dreamers were cheated out of fortune and working class folks weren't getting any further in life. Through his perfectly woven stories, Langston Hughes paints a picture for his readers. He shows us parts of his life, parts of his friends’ lives and some good, old fashioned fiction. I think the thing that struck me most was the relevancy in his stories. It was a bit unnerving, actually. This one moment in a story (the story name has escaped me) echoes an incident I saw on the news not too long ago. These issues are still happening, they're still relevant. I feel this further stresses the significance of Langston Hughes’ writing. His stories regarding race relations and poverty are especially potent, for they make me wonder if the human race has truly progressed. A snapshot of Harlem during the 1940’s was eerily alike to some of the things that go down in the South nowadays. For the sake of your own enlightenment and enjoyment, I urge you; whoever you may be, to read this book.
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