Hughes covered many different subjects in his poems. In “Elevator Boy” (881) the reader follow a boy’s thoughts while he works in an elevator. Life is a struggle and even if he wants to get out of the elevator and work with something else, there are not many possibilities for a young black man. Hughes write: “..somebody else’s shoes / to shine / or greasy pots in a dirty kitchen” (17-19)
He talked about sexuality. “Café: 3 AM” (1228) is a wonderful poem that takes you right into the nightlife and the underworld. To be homosexual at that time was unacceptable and in this controversial poem Hughes suggests that anyone, even a police officer, can be gay.
“Dream variation” (962,) “Harlem Sweeties” (1226) takes you into the black culture and struggles. In “Harlem Sweeties” Hughes give you a sweet taste in your mouth by talking about all the beautiful black women who lives on “Delicious fine Sugar Hill” (44.)
“Dream variation” is a little bit more serious. He talks about the beauty of being black and he mentions in the first stanza that: “…the white day is done” (4.)
White was the empowered color, and being black was considered being bad, so in “Dream Variations” he tries to change the attitude. He is a proud black man, and he brings out good associations instead of bad.
His poems are filled with imagery. In every one of these four poems that I mentioned, Hughes brings you in to the scene. In “Dream Variation” he talks about dancing in the sun till the night comes and by just using one word “Whirl,” I see a dear picture of someone feeling free, and dancing around with no worries.
In “Elevator Boy” and “Café 3.AM,” you are there in the elevator with the boy and you can feel his unhappiness, and you are there at the café and you can see the people moving around in the shadows, trying to hide who they really are. Thanks to this I think his message gets clearer. When you can picture something or even picture yourself in that person’s...