Morning After, Langston Hughes: Summary & Analysis

In "Morning After" by Langston Hughes, the poet portrays the aftermath of a night of intoxication through vivid and evocative imagery. Through the speaker's recounting of his experiences, the poem explores themes of disorientation, vulnerability, and the blurred lines between dreams and reality.

Morning After

I was so sick last night I
Didn’t hardly know my mind.
So sick last night I
Didn’t know my mind.
I drunk some bad licker that
Almost made me blind.
Had a dream last night I
Thought I was in hell.
I drempt last night I
Thought I was in hell.
Woke up and looked around me—
Babe, your mouth was open like a well.
I said, Baby! Baby!
Please don’t snore so loud.
Baby! Please!
Please don’t snore so loud.
You jest a little bit o’ woman but you
Sound like a great big crowd.

Critical Analysis

"Morning After" vividly captures the aftermath of a night of excessive drinking. The poem's vivid imagery and fragmented narrative highlight the speaker's disoriented state and emotional vulnerability.

The repetition of phrases such as "I was so sick last night I" and "Had a dream last night I" mimics the disoriented state of the speaker, emphasizing his lack of clarity and coherence.

The description of drinking "bad licker that / Almost made me blind" evokes a sense of physical and sensory distortion, as well as the negative consequences of excessive alcohol consumption.

The dream sequence in the poem further adds to the theme of disorientation. The speaker's experience of thinking he was "in hell" is juxtaposed with the surprise of waking up to find the woman beside him with her "mouth open like a well." This imagery contributes to a sense of bewilderment and emotional intensity.

The contrast between the dream and reality is highlighted by the speaker's plea to the woman not to "snore so loud." The humor in this contrast adds complexity to the portrayal of the speaker's state of mind.

"Morning After" offers a snapshot of a disoriented and emotionally charged moment, conveying the aftermath of intoxication and its impact on perception and emotions.

Summary

"Morning After" by Langston Hughes depicts the disoriented aftermath of a night of drinking. Through fragmented narrative and vivid imagery, the poem explores themes of disorientation, vulnerability, and the blurred lines between dreams and reality.

Themes of the Poem

  • Intoxication and Disorientation: The poem delves into the state of disorientation and vulnerability resulting from excessive alcohol consumption.
  • Dreams and Reality: The poem explores the blurring of lines between dream and reality, highlighting the speaker's confusion and emotional intensity.

Stylistic Analysis

  • Repetition: The repetition of certain phrases creates a sense of fragmentation and confusion, mirroring the speaker's state of mind.
  • Contrast and Imagery: The contrast between the dream sequence and the reality of the woman's snoring adds depth and complexity to the portrayal of the speaker's disoriented state.

Attitudes/Feelings

  • Disorientation and Vulnerability: The poem captures the speaker's disoriented and vulnerable state after a night of drinking.
  • Surprise and Humor: The surprise of waking up to unexpected sights and sounds contributes to a sense of humor within the disorienting situation.

Language

  • Vivid Imagery: The use of vivid imagery, such as "bad licker" and "mouth open like a well," creates a sensory and emotional impact.
  • Dialogue: The use of direct address in the speaker's pleas to the woman adds authenticity and emotional immediacy to the poem.

Sound Devices

  • Rhythm and Flow: The poem's rhythmic structure enhances the fragmented and disjointed flow, contributing to the portrayal of the speaker's disoriented state.
  • Alliteration: Alliteration in phrases like "Didn’t hardly know" and "Sound like a great big crowd" adds a rhythmic quality to the lines.

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