Aunt Sue’s Stories
Langston Hughes poem, “Aunt Sue’s Stories” would fall into the category of didactic poetry. Where this poem is concerned, there is an ethical and moral lesson being taught. This poem illustrates the African culture of telling stories to pass on traditions, keeping the African heritage alive and ensuring history does not repeat itself by gapping the generational bridge. Thus the oral documentation weaves a tapestry of the historical legacy of the African people in America always transcending generations. There is that sense of pride evidential in the elder in the family or community who makes it their moral and ethical duty to pass on these stories. To the younger generation, the firsthand account of historical and family events is greatly appreciated. The poem’s central idea is to portray the maternal bond between an elder and a child as she passes on not just a story but confidence and self-acceptance of being a descendant of slaves.
The poem characters are a woman and a child where the setting is on a front porch during a summer evening. Aunt Sue’s Stories begins as the narrator describes Aunt Sue, not physically, but exactly what she is best known for. Aunt Sue’s personality, character and motherly instincts are depicted through her stories. The reader learns that Aunt Sue is emotionally connected to her stories because lines 21 and 22 suggest she may have been a slave. The poem develops into one of her stories about the conditions of slaves, working hard in the hot sun and walking home when the dew begins to fall. “Singing sorrow songs” symbolizes Hughes unconditional love for the blues. The blues represents the psychological condition and the genre of the music which the people have long used to comfort their soul and as suggesting humor to continue with the battle. The poem ends with the narrator assuring us that the brown/dark faced child understands the importance of Aunt Sue’s stories because she is relating her own personal...
Cited: Hughes, Langston. “Aunt Sue’s Stories” Literature: Approaches to Fiction, Poetry, and Drama. Ed. Robert DiYanni. 2nd ed. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2008. 722.
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