Poetic devices


At times, Langston Hughes introduces apostrophe in his poem "Let America Be America Again", like in the following examples: “O, let my land be a land” (l. 11), “Beaten yet today—O, Pioneers!” (l. 36), “O, I’m the man who sailed those early seas” (l. 45), and “O, let America be America again” (l. 62). In these situations, apostrophe makes the speaker’s appeal more dramatic and highlights the emotion he conveys in his address. This makes the poem solemn in style and offers readers a better view of the speaker’s feelings. 


In the first, third, and fifth stanzas, the repetition “let (…) be” emphasizes the speaker’s desire to reclaim America and transform it into the country that it should be:

Let America be America again.

Let it be the dream it used to be.

Let it be the pioneer on the plain

Seeking a home where he himself is free. (ll. 1-4)

In this case, the repetition “let it be” also makes the speaker’s address resemble a prayer to transform America. On the same note, the word America is repeated fifteen times in the poem, which shows what the poem focuses on. 

When the speaker talks about the people he identifies with, he uses the repetition “I am”:

I am the poor white, fooled and pushed apart,

I am the Negro bearing slavery’s scars.

I am the red man driven from the land,

I am the immigrant clutching the hope I seek—


I am the young man, full of strength and...

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