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The poem “I Too Sing America” by Langston Hughes is a symbolic poem. The poem begins and ends with “I, too” that conveys something quite deep and profound.
The word “I” does not merely refer to the poet but symbolizes the whole Balck Race of African-Americans who have been considered as 2nd class citizens though they equally love and respect their country i.e. America.
Most of the other poems of Langston Hughes like Dreams, Still Here, A Dream Deferred reflect the same idea. Thus in this poem as well the central theme is the struggle of the African-Americans for equality.
The poem provides an overview of the relations of African Americans with the other American citizens or in other words the relations of the Blacks with the Whites. I have divided the poem into three parts.
Part 1: Discrimination Against African-Americans
The poet begins by saying I, too, sing America. I am the darker brother. Both the lines are complete sentences and hence are defensive and protesting statements of the Blacks.
The poet wants to say that they (Blacks) also love America like the Whites. In the next sentence, he says he is American as well though he has a dark complexion.
Having said that the poet throws light on how Blacks are discriminated against in America. According to the poet, “They send me to eat in the kitchen When company comes“. The line tells how Blacks are not allowed to dine with the Whites.
However, the poet does not take this discrimination in a negative sense. He says, “I laugh, And eat well, And grow strong” meaning that such discriminations make him and others belonging to his Race stronger as he knows they will also attain the equality.
Part 2: Hope for Bright Future
The poet says that “Tomorrow” or in the near future “I’ll be at the table” when the “When company comes” i.e. they will attain and will be able to sit with the other Americans and also din with them.
In the next lines, the poet says ‘Nobody’ll dare Say to me, “Eat in the kitchen,” Then’. The line refers to the time when according to the poet there will be no discrimination, nobody will dare to ask the Blacks to eat in the kitchen.
Part 3: Recognition of Goodness in the Blacks
In the ending lines, the poet says, “Besides, They’ll see how beautiful I am And be ashamed” i.e. after equality will prevail in America, the Whites will be able to recognize how good African-Americans are and would be ashamed for assuming them to be ill-willed.
In the end, the poet sighs, “I, too, am America.” i.e. African-Americans are equally the part as well as the strength of America.
For a deeper analysis and more advanced analysis of the poem, refer to this site.