Daybreak In Alabama, Langston Hughes: Summary & Analysis

"Daybreak In Alabama" by Langston Hughes is a hopeful and vibrant poem that celebrates diversity, unity, and the beauty of the Southern landscape. The poem envisions a world where racial and cultural differences are embraced and celebrated, and where music becomes a medium to connect people across backgrounds.

Daybreak In Alabama by Langston Hughes

When I get to be a composer
I'm gonna write me some music about
Daybreak in Alabama
And I'm gonna put the purtiest songs in it
Rising out of the ground like a swamp mist
And falling out of heaven like soft dew.
I'm gonna put some tall tall trees in it
And the scent of pine needles
And the smell of red clay after rain
And long red necks
And poppy colored faces
And big brown arms
And the field daisy eyes
Of black and white black white black people
And I'm gonna put white hands
And black hands and brown and yellow hands
And red clay earth hands in it
Touching everybody with kind fingers
And touching each other natural as dew
In that dawn of music when I
Get to be a composer
And write about daybreak
In Alabama.


"Daybreak In Alabama" envisions a world of unity and harmony where the composer celebrates the beauty and diversity of Alabama. The poem embraces racial and cultural differences, using imagery of nature, colors, and physical attributes to paint a vivid picture of a Southern dawn. The poem looks forward to a time when the composer can create music that reflects the interconnectedness of all people and the natural world.

Critical Analysis

The poem "Daybreak In Alabama" is a testament to Langston Hughes' belief in the power of art and music to transcend barriers and unite people. The composer's desire to create music that represents daybreak in Alabama symbolizes the breaking of a new, harmonious day where racial divisions are dissolved. The imagery of diverse hands and physical attributes signifies the coming together of people from different backgrounds, forming a tapestry of humanity bound by kind fingers.

Themes of the Poem

  • Celebration of Diversity: The poem celebrates the diversity of the people and landscape in Alabama, embracing differences as sources of beauty and richness.
  • Unity Through Music: The poem emphasizes the role of music in connecting people across racial and cultural lines, fostering unity and understanding.
  • Harmony with Nature: The imagery of nature, including trees, scents, and colors, reflects a sense of harmony between humanity and the natural world.

Stylistic Analysis

  • Imagery: The poem uses vivid imagery to paint a sensory-rich portrayal of Alabama at daybreak, evoking a sense of place and atmosphere.
  • Repetition: The repetition of the phrase "And I'm gonna put" emphasizes the composer's intentions and creative vision.


  • Hope: The poem conveys a hopeful and optimistic attitude, envisioning a future where people come together and differences are appreciated.
  • Appreciation of Beauty: The poem reflects a deep appreciation for the beauty of nature, people, and music.


  • Sensory Language: The poem uses sensory descriptions to create a vivid and immersive experience for the reader.
  • Metaphor: The "dawn of music" serves as a metaphor for a new era of understanding and harmony.

Sound Devices

  • Alliteration: The use of alliteration, such as "purtiest songs," enhances the musical quality of the poem.
  • Imaginative Language: The poem's language and imagery evoke a sense of imagination and creativity.

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