Langston Hughes Short Essay - Answer Key

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1. Why do Langston's classmates believe he would be a good poet?

Hughes had not written any poems, but his classmates, who were all white, knew that good poems had rhythm. Since Langston was black, and black people were supposed to have rhythm, Langston's classmates assumed he would be a good poet.

2. Describe Hughes' family history.

Hughes had a mixed family history; both great-grandfathers were white, one a Jewish slave trader and the other a Scottish whiskey maker. His mother's grandfather was a white planter who was said to have descended from Frances Quarles, a seventeenth- century British poet.

3. Describe Langston's father.

His father, who was a struggling lawyer, left his mother soon after Langston's birth, and traveled south, eventually settling in Mexico City.

4. How is Langston reunited with his father?

Langston was reunited with his father for a short while, when his mother and he moved to Mexico City. However, after experiencing an earthquake, Mrs. Hughes and Langston moved back to Kansas, where Langston was put in the care of his grandmother, Mary.

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