Study Guide

Vintage Hughes - Brass Spittoons Summary & Analysis

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Brass Spittoons Summary

This poem is about a black man whose job it is to clean hotel spittoons. The man must use his paltry wages to buy shoes for his baby and pay rent. On Saturdays he drinks gin and on Sundays he goes to church.

Brass Spittoons Analysis

This poem juxtaposes the one-dimensional weekday life of the man who earns his wages cleaning spittoons with the richness and complexity of his weekend life. The reader is compelled by this juxtaposition to see the dehumanizing nature of work which does not engage any of the worker's humanity; the man is scarcely more than an animal or a machine, and yet the final lines of the poem speak of the bright, clean spittoons as offerings on the altar of the Lord. This offering is the only one available for the make, and the image Hughes paints is a piteous...

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This section contains 150 words
(approx. 1 page at 400 words per page)
Buy the Vintage Hughes Study Guide
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Nonfiction Classics for Students
Vintage Hughes from Nonfiction Classics for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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