Ardella, Langston Hughes: Summary & Analysis

"Ardella" by Langston Hughes is a concise and evocative poem that employs metaphorical language to convey the speaker's admiration and appreciation for the subject. The poem draws parallels between the subject and elements of the natural world, emphasizing the unique qualities that make the subject stand out.

Ardella by Langston Hughes

I would liken you
To a night without stars
Were it not for your eyes.
I would liken you
To a sleep without dreams
Were it not for your songs.


"Ardella" compares the subject, presumably a person named Ardella, to various aspects of the natural world. The speaker likens Ardella to a night without stars, suggesting that her presence is like a source of light in the darkness. Additionally, the speaker compares her to a sleep without dreams, implying that her songs bring life and vibrancy to what would otherwise be mundane.

Critical Analysis

The brevity of "Ardella" serves to highlight the impact of the metaphors used. The poem employs two metaphors to convey the speaker's admiration for Ardella's unique qualities. By associating Ardella with light and music, the speaker emphasizes her ability to bring beauty and vitality to the world around her.

The metaphor of likening Ardella to a night without stars underscores the idea that her presence is so significant that it transforms darkness into something less bleak. This can be interpreted as a metaphor for the positivity and inspiration she brings into the speaker's life.

The comparison to a sleep without dreams connects Ardella's songs to a sense of imagination and creativity. Her songs are portrayed as the source of dreams that enrich and enhance the speaker's experiences.

Themes of the Poem

  • Admiration: The poem conveys the speaker's admiration for Ardella's qualities, emphasizing the impact she has on the speaker's perception of the world.
  • Positive Influence: Ardella's presence is depicted as a source of light and inspiration that brightens the speaker's life.
  • Artistic Expression: The comparison to songs highlights the significance of artistic expression in bringing vibrancy and depth to life.

Stylistic Analysis

  • Metaphorical Language: The poem's use of metaphors allows for concise yet powerful imagery, capturing the essence of Ardella's impact.


  • Admiration and Gratitude: The speaker's tone conveys a deep appreciation for Ardella's qualities and the positive influence she has on their perception of the world.


  • Metaphors: The metaphors of a night without stars and a sleep without dreams effectively convey the significance of Ardella's presence and her impact on the speaker's experience.

Sound Devices

  • Rhythmic Flow: The rhythmic flow of the poem enhances its musical quality, aligning with the theme of songs associated with Ardella.

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