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The Depiction Of The Working-Class Youth Of 1930s America In «Kids Who Die» By Langston Hughes

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The injustice that humans have endured throughout time is immeasurable. The poem «Kids Who Die» by Langston Hughes, portrays the injustice that the working-class youth faced in 1930s America. This essay will discuss two literary devices used by the author of this poem: repetition and similes. The poet uses repetition to highlight the injustice that youth were exposed to in 1930s America. The phrase «kids who die» and «kids will die» is repeated many times throughout the poem to emphasize the fact that kids are dying because of injustice, which was a common occurrence. Another example of repetition the phrase «the old and rich». I think a quote that highlights this fact is «The old and the rich don’t want the people to taste the iron of the kids who die, don’t want the people to get wise of their own power». This quote creates an idea of superiority, and the oppressor is easily identified. The oppressors don’t want the people to know what’s going on with the children who are dying.

The poet also uses similes to further his point that the youth in 1930s America were subjected to injustice. The quote «Kids who die are like iron in the blood of the people» talks about the suffering youth being like iron in people’s blood, the directly followed quote states «And the old and the rich don’t want the people to taste the iron of the kids who die». Iron is a major component in our blood, lack of it gives us a blood disease. The working youth were a very major part of the world and part of the reason the world went ‘round. Without the working youth, it would be like blood without iron. What do «The old and rich» not want «The people» to know about the working youth? If «The people» knew about the working youth, they’d know how important they are and all the injustice they were facing. Once «the people» became aware, they could form their own opinions on the matter. «The old and rich» wouldn’t want something like that. Another example of similes in this poem is the quote «Or the rivers where you’re drowned like Leibknecht», this quote is interesting considering who Leibknecht was. He was a socialist party member who was tortured, shot and thrown into the Landwehr Canal. He spoke out for what he thought was right and was silenced by his superiors, much like how the working youth were silenced and the people were kept in the dark about it.

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In the poem «Kids Who Die» by Langston Hughes, he suggests that the working-class youth of 1930s America were subjected to injustice. To portray this, the poet uses repetition, such as the phrase «Kids who die» to highlight the fact that many young lives were lost because of injustice. The poet also used similes to emphasize his point. The poem compared the working-class youth to «iron in the people’s blood», cementing the working youth as important factors for the world to function. The injustice youth in America were facing in the 1930s is devastating. I find it even more devastating that in present time people are still being mistreated by people who believe they are superior.


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