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Harlem: One Man's Observations Essay

  • Submitted by: rocjunior
  • on August 28, 2013
  • Category: English
  • Length: 938 words

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Below is an essay on "Harlem: One Man's Observations" from Anti Essays, your source for research papers, essays, and term paper examples.

Harlem: One man’s observations

My whole life, Harlem has been synonymous with the idea of the African-American ghetto.   I’ve never been there, never been to New York for that matter, but if I close my eyes I can see its dirty, grimy streets. I can hear the loud music and the sound of the voices mixing and mingling as I imagine myself walking down those city sidewalks. The picture in my head of this iconic section of New York’s Manhattan is one that has been shaped by television and movies. This is not the Harlem I see when I read the works of Langston Hughes.   His Harlem is the Harlem of the early 20th century, and it is a stretch of the mean streets that is as full of life and love as it is the destroyer of hopes and dreams. The Harlem of their writing is willing to make you or break you, meet you head on, and it is up to you to decide which way it will be.
Langston Hughes takes us around the city blocks and shows us the lighter side of his Harlem by talking about the sweetest thing in his neighborhood: the “Harlem Sweeties.”   Each and every line is a delicious depiction of the decadence that is the ladies of Harlem. His words convey the many different shades of color that the women of Harlem bring to brighten each day. “Brown sugar lassie, / Caramel treat, / Honey-gold baby / Sweet enough to eat. (5-8) He shares with us his vision of Harlem in a playful and light way, and you cannot help but see these beautiful creatures walking down the street beside you, in front of you, passing by you. “Peach-skinned girlie, / Coffee and cream, / Chocolate darling / Out of a dream. / Walnut tinted / Or cocoa brown, / Pomegranate-lipped / Pride of the town (9-16).   There is no lack of variation in the beauty these women represent to Hughes as he travels his Harlem. They run the gambit from light to dark, and each is an embodiment of the sweetness and joy to be found in this impoverished area of Upper Manhattan.   Hughes conveys not only the beauty in what he sees, but the...

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