A Gloomy Section of New York
In the short story "Paul*s Case," we can find that New York is a highly-developed
city in the United States. There numerous famous companies and enterprises*
offices are established. Undoubtedly, the standard of life there is also
quite high. Nevertheless, New York still has its dark side, which is dirty,
ugly, and full of delinquency and narcotics. And Harlem, where a great
number of colored people live, especially the black, is one of the so-called
"the gloomy section."
So far as the white people are concerned, Harlem is just like a humiliation
of New York, for crimes are committed from dawn to dusk. However, the residents
there view it as a refuge and a sweet home. Most of the inhabitants are
black people, and they are immigrants. As life in their home town is difficult
and tough, they immigrate into America with their hearts full of hope in
order to seek a better life. But they fail, for the white people are unwilling
to accepting their coming, Owing to this, it is nearly impossible for these
new immigrants to find a good job, and that is why their careers always
belong to low class, because they do not have other opportunities. Besides,
no matter how hard they work, they are still looked down on by the white.
In the poem "Harlem," we can get the idea of the immigrants* feelings,
for the author Langston Hughes himself is an African-American. Through
Hughes* description, the process from their being hopeful in the beginning
to their losing hope at the end is clearly revealed.
The "dream" in the first line refers to the immigrants* hope. They
move to America hopefully, while after they reach there, their beautiful
dream is completely destroyed. Though they try their best to get involved
in the society, what they receive in return is nothing more than callous
treatment. So that is just why they "dry up in the sun." Here the word
"sun" seems to represent the unfriendly society, and the word "raisin"
is a metaphor of these newcomers, for their complexion is similar to the
raisin, both are black.
In addition, like what I have mentioned above, the white people regard
Harlem as a shame to New York. Consequently, maybe in their points of view,
Harlem equals to the "rotten meat," which stinks all the time. On the contrary,
as far as these immigrants are concerned, Harlem is "sweet" and "syrupy."
The reason is that only do they stay in this district they are able to
be treated equally. As a result, the two sides' opinion about Harlem is
totally quite different. Thus, we can observe a transparent divergence.
As Langston Hughes's background is just like the people he describes
in the poem, he can show the true scene of Harlem much more vivid than
other people, for he is able to catch the true feeling of the black. In
conclusion, this poem indeed expresses the black people's veritable thoughts.