I’M STILL HERE
An Interpretation of the Literary Works of
Lorraine Hansberry, Langston Hughes, and Ralph Ellison
Written by Paul Haney
Introduction to Literature
Ms. April MacGrotty
June 18, 2008
Before the civil rights movement in the 1960’s these three African American
Writers; Langston Hughes (1902-1967), Ralph Ellison (1914-1994), and Lorraine
Hansberry (1930-1965) would use the power of expression through literature to
enlighten White Americans and African Americans to the struggle for racial equality
and human rights. It is through their words and that I have gained a better
understanding of the racial inequalities and the inhuman treatment that many had to
suffer to gain equality.
Before discussing the similarities of the Hughes’ poem “I’m Still Here”, Ellison’s’
short story “Battle Royal”, and Hansberry’s’ play “A Raisin in the Sun” I will offer a brief
biography on each writer. It is through the biography one gets a better understanding of
the literature written. It is interesting to note that of the three, Langston Hughes was the
most influential, as Hansberry and Ellison would use their association with him to further
their own writer careers.
Langston Hughes was one of the most important writers and thinkers of the
Harlem Renaissance, which was the African American artistic movement in the 1920’s
Considered as the “Poet Laureate of the Negro Race”, through his poetry, novels,
plays, essays, and children books he would promote equality, condemn racism, and
celebrate the African American experience.
Born in 1902, James Langston Hughes would spend the first thirteen years of
his life living with his aging grandmother in Joplin, Missouri. He would finally move in
with his mother after the grandmother died. This parental rejection during his early
years would cause him to experience feelings of insecurity and make him unsure
about himself throughout his life.
In a Cleveland, Ohio high...