In this essay I will be analyzing and comparing two poems.
The first poem is called “I too” and is written in ca. 1920, by Langston Hughes, an African American poet.
The second poem is called “The primitive” and is written by the author, Don L. Lee, in 1968.
Both of the poems are written by African Americans during the height of the segregation, which adds to the writers’ credibility as well as reinforcing the appeal to emotion, pathos and the ethical appeal, ethos.
The theme of both poems is racism, but they “deal” with it in a very different way.
In the first poem, “I too”, the author is very indirect and doesn’t directly mention racism.
He, the narrator, states that “I am the darker brother. They send me to eat …show more content…
Nobody’ll dare say to me”. This is the author’s way of saying that there is hope, but the black people have to do something, both by speaking up, but also by knowing that they’re equally good: “They’ll see how beautiful I am”.
In the poem “The primitive”, the author is not trying to gain sympathy, but he is trying to show us, the reader, who is really the “bad guy”.
Another thing to draw from the poem is that by saying “they brought us here to drive us mad”, might be a way of shifting the blame from certain “bad apples” to the white men.
Whilst being very similar in theme and message, the two poems’ titles have a very similar meaning..
The first poem’s title; “I too”, refer to the sentence at the beginning and the end of the poem “I, Too, sing America”, meaning that the black man, as well as the white, can live independently and free.
The meaning of the second poem’s title “The primitive” is that they might be a primitive people, but that they do not have to be “tamed” because of it.
In the first poem the author chooses an “I” narrator, which makes us feel sympathy for him.
It also creates a figure for other oppressed blacks to feel similar to and, therefore, shows that they can fight back like the man in the …show more content…
This is a way of making certain the black people “regain” confidence and do not believe the earlier claims that they had to be tamed and handled like animals.
The author asserts his opinion by repeatedly using synonyms of the word “us”: Examples of this are: “Us, our, each other, they (unifying the blacks by finding a common enemy)”.
So, as we have seen, both poems show that the black people should be free and that they should have the same rights as the white.
That is not to say that the contents of the poems are the same, far from it, because although the message is the same, “I too” has a more neutral and less aggressive tone. “The primitive” is, in terms of tone, the complete opposite of “I too”, because it shows the authors disgust and hatred towards the white men who enslaved his people, and does so in a way that