Minstrel Man by Langston Hughes

Because my mouth

Is wide with laughter

And my throat

Is deep with song,

You do not think

I suffer after

I have held my pain

So long?

Because my mouth

Is wide with laughter,

You do not hear

My inner cry?

Because my feet

Are gay with dancing,

You do not know

I die?

This poem by Langston Hughes gives the idea that what is seen on the outside does not always reflect what is happening on the inside. The Minstrel show refers to a nineteenth century entertainment also known as the Blackface tradition. Both black and white men took part in the performances that exaggerated the representation of African American men and women.

The idea that inner thoughts and what is happening on the outside do not always reflect each other can also be seen in Natasha Trethewey’s poems. Growing up in a racially mixed family made some situations challenging for her. She dealt with many situations that revolved around her race and family.

For a look at other views of the Minstrel Man poem and others, interesting videos can be found at http://www.favoritepoem.org/videos.html

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