The Modernist Period in American Literature occupied the years shorty after the beginning of the twentieth century through 1965. The period was marked by unexpected breaks with traditional ways of viewing and interacting with the world. In the 1920’s, the Harlem Renaissance spread across the urban areas in the Northeast and Mideast. The African American cultural movement influenced many black writers, one of them being Langston Hughes. Hughes contributed a tremendous influence on black culture throughout the United States during the Harlem Renaissance . He is usually considered to be one the most prolific and most recognized black poets of the Harlem Renaissance. He broke barriers that very few black writers had done before during this period. Hughes was presented with a great opportunity with the rise of black art and by his creative style of poetry, which used black culture as its basis and still appealed to all ethnic groups.
Harlem became a symbol of pride and achievement, and also a place of opportunity and fantasy. Jazz, cabarets, and Prohibition-era speakeasies brought numerous whites to Harlem. During the Harlem Renaissance, numerous poems and publications sought to capture real and imagined life in Harlem. Artists and writers also turned to themes related to folk culture, religion, and the South in their works. Langston Hughes used with strong emotion to the things that influenced his life. He puts forth images of African Americans, jazz, and many other topics that have been a part of his life. These elements are what influenced him and shows it in the works he has written. He uses jazz and blues styles for subjects and for structure in pieces of his literature. In Hughes’ poetry, he would try to bring out the sound, cadence, and the rhythms from blues and jazz music. He would also use humor loneliness, and despair to imitate the sound of blues and jazz music with words. Hughes refused to differentiate between his personal experience and the common experience of black America. He wanted to tell stories of his people in ways that reflected their actual culture, including both their suffering and their love for music, laughter and language itself.
(Langston Hughes- The Weary Blues)