The Importance of Understanding Context in Relation to Langston Hughes' poem, "As I Grew Older"
As I read the poem, I thought that Langston Hughes simply had a dream as a child. Then, as he grew older, people’s expectations and what they wanted him to do rose like a wall between him and his dream. All that Langston Hughes wants to do now is break through the wall and find his dream.
After researching who Langston Hughes was and the time period he lived in, I found a whole new meaning to the poem. As a child, Hughes had dreams, but as Hughes grew older, he realized his dreams were being blocked by a “wall that reached the sky”. This wall was not people’s expectations as I had thought, but it was people’s prejudice towards black people. The “wall” is racism, and as Hughes’ grew older his dream was to be free society of racial segregation so that everyone could be equal breaking the barriers between blacks and whites. Langston Hughes wants us to collectively “break” through these barriers, “smash” them down and bring segregation to an end.