Pages

Thursday, January 21, 2010

pessimist or optimist?

James Mercer Langston Hughes, an African American was a poet, short story writer, novelist, playwright and columnist. His writings are categorized as marginalized literature in the marginalized ethnic group and he voice out issues and concerns from his life experience. I feel that his poem “Cross” is showing his vision of future generations, who practice multi-ethnic marriage, which has actually become a reality these days. The same situation occurs in Malaysia where we have multi ethnic marriage, so this poem can also be suitable to be taught in Malaysian secondary school where students have background knowledge on this matter. Multi ethnic marriage occurs in their family circle or in the society around them. The poem reflects the persona’s frustration from racialism and arouses us to contemplate what will happen in the future if discrimination prevails. The persona is as though wanting the readers to ponder on the consequences of practicing racialism in the society which will not only cause internal conflict in a person but also external conflict and to decide whether to be pessimist or optimist when facing the reality in life before turning into dust.

Cross by Langston Hughes

My old man's a white old man
And my old mother's black.
If ever I cursed my white old man
I take my curses back.
If ever I cursed my black old mother
And wished she were in hell,
I'm sorry for that evil wish
And now I wish her well
My old man died in a fine big house.
My ma died in a shack.
I wonder where I'm going to die,
Being neither white nor black?


No comments: