Still Here, Langston Hughes: Summary & Analysis

"Still Here" by Langston Hughes is a resilient and defiant expression of endurance in the face of adversity and hardship. Through vivid imagery and an empowered voice, the poem conveys the speaker's determination to persist and thrive despite the challenges they have faced.

Still Here

been scarred and battered.
My hopes the wind done scattered.
Snow has friz me,
Sun has baked me,
Looks like between 'em they done
Tried to make me
Stop laughin', stop lovin', stop livin'-
But I don't care!
I'm still here!

Critical Analysis

"Still Here" captures the speaker's unyielding spirit and determination to persevere despite the challenges and hardships they have faced. The poem's vivid imagery and rhythmic language emphasize the speaker's resilience and unwavering commitment to living life to the fullest.

The opening lines, "been scarred and battered," set the tone for the poem, acknowledging the speaker's history of adversity. The imagery of "hopes the wind done scattered" suggests the fleeting nature of dreams and aspirations, yet it also implies a sense of resiliency in the face of setbacks.

The contrasting imagery of "Snow has friz me" and "Sun has baked me" depicts the harshness of life's trials, ranging from cold to scorching experiences. Despite these challenges, the speaker remains undeterred.

The repetition of the phrase "Tried to make me" emphasizes the external pressures that have attempted to stifle the speaker's joy, love, and zest for life.

The triumphant declaration "But I don't care! / I'm still here!" embodies the central message of the poem. The speaker's defiant attitude affirms their resilience and refusal to be defeated by life's obstacles.

"Still Here" resonates as a declaration of empowerment, asserting the speaker's agency and determination to persevere and thrive, despite the adversities that have sought to diminish their spirit.

Summary

"Still Here" by Langston Hughes is a powerful assertion of resilience and defiance in the face of life's challenges. Through vivid imagery and a bold voice, the poem conveys the speaker's unwavering commitment to living life to the fullest and embracing their enduring spirit.

Themes of the Poem

  • Resilience: The poem celebrates the speaker's resilience and determination to endure and thrive despite adversity.
  • Defiance: The poem's defiant tone reflects the speaker's refusal to be defeated by external forces or circumstances.
  • Empowerment: The poem emphasizes the speaker's agency and empowerment in shaping their own narrative and outlook.

Stylistic Analysis

  • Imagery: Vivid imagery, such as "scarred and battered," "Snow has friz me," and "Sun has baked me," vividly conveys the speaker's experiences and hardships.
  • Rhythmic Language: The poem's rhythmic language and repetition contribute to the poem's spirited and resolute tone.

Attitudes/Feelings

  • Defiance and Resilience: The speaker's defiant attitude and resolute determination are central to the poem's emotional resonance.
  • Optimism: Despite the challenges, the poem conveys an underlying sense of optimism and the choice to embrace life's experiences.

Language

  • Repetition: The repetition of "Tried to make me" emphasizes the various attempts to hinder the speaker's spirit and resilience.
  • Declaration: The declarative statements in the poem, such as "But I don't care! / I'm still here!" convey the speaker's strong sense of self and purpose.

Sound Devices

  • Rhythm and Repetition: The poem's rhythmic structure and repetition contribute to its assertive and resolute quality.
  • Alliteration: Alliteration, such as in "scarred and battered," adds a rhythmic quality to the lines and emphasizes key concepts.

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