A Patriarchal Symbolism In I Too Sing America

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To sing America is to be American, therefore I am America. What does this mean to the average person? To understand this statement one must understand the “American Experience”. Langston Hughes’ poem “I too sing America” serves as a patriarchal representation of the minority experience in America. There are many historical undertones that are present in this poem in addition to symbolism and foreshadowing which instills hope into the reader. The poem starts with the line, “I, too, sing America” (1). The commas between “too” leaves a short pause that indicates that the speaker is in a contemplative mood. The speaker is either reflecting upon his status as an American, or he is affirming that he is an American as any other American citizen …show more content…
So who exactly is “They” and why was he forced to go through this type of treatment? It is important to note that “They” does not specifically mean an actual group of people, but it is the speaker and his conflict with the society. When he is forced to “eat in the kitchen”(3) is a historical undertone that connotes segregation, discrimination, and implementation of the Jim Crow caste system. “Racial etiquette” was the unwritten rule of law for most southern and even a few northern states during the late 19th and early to mid 20th century (ferris.edu). Some of the social norms included: the addressing of titles like uncle or auntie to order black people, or street etiquette like walking on the other side of the street when a white person passed (farris.edu); Black American were also expected to have separate and inferior facilities then white people. Not only is this line a historical representation of minority citizen’s ill treatment, but also it can be a representation of shunned from being “American” despite their citizenship. The phrase “send me”(3) inflicts that the person has made a transgression and he is being isolated from …show more content…
In fact, it has somewhat of a foreshadowing of the future that leads the reader to feel a sense of impending triumph. He starts with the single word “Tomorrow”(8) which has a connotation of nearness or a allusion that the future would be as near as “Tomorrow”(8). He continue by stating “I’ll sit at the table”(9) which represents that his days of “eat[ing] in the kitchen”(3) will soon be over, and he will be able to sit at the “table”(9) of equality. The speaker directly asserts his deeply segregated society by stating, “when company comes over nobody’ll dare say to me ‘eat in the kitchen’ then”(10-14). The speaker choice of word “when company comes over” take the reader back to when he this first reference of the word “company” which is symbolic to the international community. To put things in perspective, the speaker is saying that when dignitaries and world leaders come to meet American leaders the speaker, who is a representation of blacks as well as other ethnic American minorities, will be in a position of leadership alongside the ethnic

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