Democracy Summary Notes

Democracy Author

He was an American poet, activist, playwright, columnist, assertive artist-spokesperson, and voice of the colored people. He earned his Bachelor’s Degree from Lincoln University and created a new genre in the literary art form called Jazz Poetry. He is also renowned for initiating the Harlem Renaissance in New York. He worked as a busboy in a hotel, where he met the poet Vachel Lind¬say, who introduced his works to the public domain as a black poet. His narratives constantly refer to the life of the working-class blacks in America. Often been described as the people’s poet, he sought to throw light on the conditions of the colored people in the USA. Founding the ‘Skyloft Players’ helped him to develop, a sin¬gular black theatre with a black perspective. He also created an extremely relatable fictional character popularly called Simple to articulate the problems of a poor black man in a racist society.(Like R K. Laxman’s caricature of the common man). He stands tall, as an impactful Afro-American artiste who boldly, took op the angst of the colored people and voiced them, without sentiment, pathos or glorification.

This narrative poem is considered a classic and was first published in 1949. There seems to be an introspective mood in the poem wherein, the poet reflects on the injustice meted out to some citizens. He laments the availability of a level playing field in a democratic country and voices his concern on behalf of those, deprived of it. His is the voice of the common citizen.

Democracy Summary

The given poem ‘Democracy’ is by James Mercer Langston Hughes (1901-1967). Langston Hughes was an African-American poet, activist, playwright, columnist, an assertive artist -spokesperson and the voice of the colored people.

‘Democracy’, a narrative poem was first published in 1949. It is regarded as a classic poem. There seems to be an introspective in the poem where in the poet reflects on the injustice meted out to some citizens. He laments the non-availability of a level playing field in a democratic country and voices his concern on behalf of those deprived of it. His voice is of the common citizen. The poem appears to be about his views of democracy. Langston Hughes was a prominent figure during the Harlem Renaissance in 1920. He is known for the use of Jazz and black folk rhythms in his poetry, which depicted the experiences of the urban African-Americans.
“Democracy will not come
Today, this year
Nor ever
Through compromise and fear”
The first stanza of the poem depicts the true feelings of the poet. He is frustrated and angry. He is tired of waiting for Democracy. He feels that Democracy will not ever come through compromise and fear. Maybe he feels that he and his people need to change their tactics to achieve democracy. They cannot sit idly waiting for the authorities to hear their pleas for democracy (a level playing field where every American citizen enjoys the same rights -whether black or white). To him Democracy is not a Democracy in America because it has differentiated between blacks and whites and they are not given equal rights.
“I have as much right
As the other fellow has
To stand
On my two feet
And own the land”
In the second stanza, the poet asserts he also is entitled to many rights (being black) same as the other white American people enjoy. He also has the right to stand on my two feet”. The speaker implies that even he has the right to lead a normal life like the other American people. He and his people are being oppressed, pushed to the ground, by the oppressive laws and unjust discrimination of the American people. He and his people are being oppressed, pushed to the ground, by the oppressive laws and unjust discrimination of the American authorities. Both the colored people Mid the white people have accepted America as their motherland. It is also his motherland and hence he also has the right to own a piece of land in America that he can call his own. He and his people are as patriotic to their motherland as the white Americans.
“I tire so of hearing people say,
Let things take their course
Tomorrow another day
I do not need my freedom when I’m dead
I cannot live on tomorrow’s bread”
In the third stanza the poet shows that he is desperate to have equal rights. He refers to his own people. He criticizes them saying that he is tired of hearing them speak of patience. He is eager to raise his voice and fight for his rights. He does not want to wait and is tired of hearing ‘Let things take their course / Tomorrow is another day’ His people feel that freedom will come in the future if they wait patiently and it is better it takes its own time. The poet is eager to have his freedom. He cannot wait patiently for freedom. The poet fears that he would be dead by the time they get freedom. The poet may also mean that ‘Death itself is freedom and who needs freedom when one is dead’. He wants equality soon. ’

He is starving for freedom. He can’t “live on tomorrow’s bread” by starving himself today. He means that he cannot deal with racism anymore, and he can’t wait forever for it to end.
“Freedom
Is a strong seed
Planted
In a great need”
Here the poet lays emphasis on ‘Freedom’. The idea, the urge, the need for freedom is ‘strongly seeded’, in their hearts. The seed of freedom is planted because it is in great need. They have planted the seed of freedom, because they need it greatly, similar to growing crops for nourishing our body and lives. They have been discriminated and oppressed for such a long time that they are in great need, they are hungry for freedom. They need the freedom to nourish their lives. Everybody deserves freedom.
“I live here
I want freedom
Just as you”
Here the poet is addressing the white people of America. He asserts that he is also a legal citizen of America like them because he also lives in America. Hence they are no different from him. He too deserves the same freedom they have and it is unfair of them to deny it to him and his people.

Democracy Glossary

angst                                  : a feeling of deep anxiety or fear about human conditions or the state of the world
introspective                      : act of mentally examining and observing oneself; looking within oneself
compromise                       : an agreement entailing mutual adjustments or sacrifices
take their course                : going through a normal routine procedure for something to happen
tomorrow is another day   : tomorrow, things may improve; a fresh new start

Democracy Questions & Answers

Guided Reading

Question 1.
The opening lines declare that ______________.
Answer:
Democracy will not ever come through compromise and fear.

Question 2.
What are the rights he ascribes to, as a common man?
Answer:
To stand on his two feet, and own the land.

Question 3.
What is the poet tired of hearing?
Answer:
The poet is tired of hearing peoplesay “Let things take there / course”.

Question 4.
What does the speaker desire, in the end?
Answer:
The speaker desires’ ‘freedom’ similar to the other white Americans.

Question 5.
Analyse the conditions/limitations that the poet speaks of, in ushering Democracy. Why do you think he feels so?
Answer:
The poet reflects on the injustice meted out to some people. He Laments the availability of a level playing field in a democratic country and voices his concern on behalf of those deprived of it. He appears serious while discussing his views of democracy. He pours out his true feelings. He is frustrated and angry. He is tired of waiting for democracy. He feels that Democracy will not ever come through compromise and fear. He feels that his people need to change their tacties to achive freedom.

The coloured people were segreagated,discriminated, oppressed and denied baste civil rights. They could not raise their voice against the dominant white Americans, so the poet feels that democracy is not a Democracy in America because it as discriminated between blacks and whites and are not given equal rights.

The poet asserts that even he and his people have as many rights as the white American people but he and his people are not allowed to ‘stand on their feet’. They cannot lead an independent life like the white Americans. They can’t own a piece of land that they can call their own.

The poet accuses his own people ofbeing lethargic. He criticizes them saying that he is tired of hearing them speak ofpatience. He is eager to fight for his rights. But his people feel that freedom will come in the future and it is better it takes its own time. But the poet is eager to have his freedom. He fears that he would be dead by the time they get freedom. He wants equality soon. He cannot deal with racism anymore, and he can’t wait for ever for it to end.

Question 6.
Explain “Let things take their course /Tomorrow is another day Analyse the attitude of people emerging from this statement.
Answer:
The poet shows that he is desperate to have equal rights. He refers to his own people. He criticizes them saying that he is tired of hearing them speak of patience. He is eager to raise his voice and fight for his rights. He does not want to wait and is tired of hearing ‘Let things take their course / Tomorrow is another day’ His people feel that freedom will come in the future if they wait patiently and it is better it takes its own time. The poet is eager to have his freedom. He cannot wait patiently for freedom. The poet fears that he would be dead by the time they get freedom The poet may also mean that ‘Death itself is freedom and who needs freedom when one is dead’. He wants equality soon.’
He is starving for freedom He can’t “live on tomorrow’s bread” by starving himself today. He means that he cannot deal with racism any more’, and he can’t wait for ever for it to end.

Question 7.
“I do not need freedom when I’m dead.” Do you think this is a strong statement? What does it suggest?
Answer:
Yes, “I do not need freedom when I am dead”, is a strong the poet shows that he is desperate to have equal rights. He refers to his own people. He criticizes them saying that he is tired of hearing them speak of patience. He is eager to raise his voice and fight for his rights. He does not want to wait and is tired of hearing ‘Let things take their course / Tomorrow is another day’ His people feel that freedom will come in the future if they wait patiently and it is better it takes its own time. The poet is eager to have his freedom. He cannot wait patiently for freedom The poet fears that he would be dead by the time they get freedom The poet may also mean that ‘Death itself is freedom and who needs freedom when one is dead’. He wants equality soon. ’

He is starving for freedom. He can’t “live on tomorrow’s bread” by starving himself today. He means that he cannot deal with racism anymore, and he can’t wait forever for it to end.

Question 8.
Analyse the statement, “I cannot live on tomorrow’s bread”, as a citizen of a country. What does it imply?
Answer:
The poet shows that he is desperate to have equal rights. He refers to his own people. He criticizes them saying that he is tired of hearing them speak of patience. He is eager to raise his voice and fight for his rights. He does not want to wait and is tired of hearing ‘Let things take their course / Tomorrow is another day’ His people feel that freedom will come in the future if they wait patiently and it is better it takes its own time. The poet is eager to have his freedom He cannot wait patiently for freedom. The poet fears that he would be dead by the time they get freedom. The poet may also mean that

‘Death itself is freedom and who needs freedom when one is dead’. He wants equality soon. ’ He is starving for freedom. He can’t “live on tomorrow’s bread” by starving himself today. He means that he cannot deal with racism anymore, and he can’t wait forever for it to end.

Question 10.
Is the third stanza, accepting the claims of the second stanza or opposing it? Discuss.
Answer:
In the second stanza the poet asserts he also is entitled to many rights (beings black) same as the other white American people enjoy. He also has the right to stand on his two feet”. The speaker implies that even he has the right to lead a normal life like the other American people. He and his people are being oppressed, pushed to the ground, by the oppressive laws and unjust discrimination of the American people. He and his people are being oppressed, pushed to the ground, by the oppressive laws and unjust discrimination of the American authorities. Both the. colored people and the white people have accepted America as their motherland. It is also his motherland and hence he also has the right to own a piece of land in America that he can call his own. He and his people are as patriotic to their motherland as the white Americans.

Question 11.
Look at the time element, in the emerging of a democracy. Is it significant?
Answer:
The peom Democracy depicts the true feelings of he poet speaker. He is frustrated and angry. He is tired of waiting for Democracy. He feels that Democracy will not evercome through compromise and fear. The poet his people have been oppressed, discriminated and segregated for a very long time, hence they are desperate to have equal rights similar to that of their white American country-men the other.

He refers to his own people as complacent. He criticizes them saying that he is tired of hearing them speak of patience. He can no longer wait for true Democracy to arrive. His people feel that i freedom will come in the future and it is better it takes its own time. The poet is eager to have his freedom. He cannot wait patiently for freedom The poet fears that he would be dead by the time they get freedom, the poet may also mean that ‘Death itself is freedom’, and who needs freedom when one is dead. He wants equality Soon. He is starting for freedom. He can’t ‘Live on tomorrow’s bread’ by starving himself today. He means that he cannot deal with racism anymore and he can’t wait forever for it to end.

The element of time in the emerging of democracy is significant because the poet and his people have been discriminated and oppressed for such a long time that they are in great need, they are hungry for freedom, and them want it now.

Question 12.
Has he given a holistic picture about the interdependent roles of citizens, attitudes and conditions, for democracy to emerge? If so, how?
Answer:
Yes, the poet Langston Huges has given a holostic picture about the interdependent roles of citizens, attitudes and conditions for democracy to emerge.

In the poem ‘Democracy’, the poet Langton Hughes seriously asks for his right and freedom as an American Critizen regardless of the colour of his skin. He wants equal rights both legally and socially throughout America. The African Americans are segregated, oppressed discriminated not only by the white Americas but also by its laws. So the democracy in American’s not true Democracy.

The given poem ‘Democracy’ is by James Mercer Langston Hughes (1901-1967). Langston Hughes was an African-American poet, activist, playwright, columnist, an assertive artist -spokesperson and the voice of the colored people.

‘Democracy’, a narrative poem was first published in 1949. It is regarded as a classic poem. There seems to be an introspective in the poem wherein the poet reflects on the injustice meted out to some citizens. He laments the non-availability of a level playing field in a democratic country and voices his concern on behalf of those deprived of it. His voice is of the common citizen. The poem appears to be about his views of democracy. Langston Hughes was a prominent figure during the Harlem Renaissance in 1920. He is known for the use of Jazz and black folk rhythms in his poetry, which depicted the experiences of the urban African-Americans.

The first stanza of the poem depicts the true feelings of the poet. He is frustrated and angry. He is tired of waiting for Democracy. He feels that Democracy will not ever come through compromise and fear. Maybe he feels that he and his people need to change their tactics to achieve democracy. They cannot sit idly waiting for . the authorities to hear their pleas for democracy (a level playing field where every American citizen enjoys the same rights -whether black or white). To him Democracy is not a Democracy in America because it has differentiated between blacks and whites and they are not given equal rights.

In the second stanza the poet asserts the he also is entitled to many rights (being black) same as the other white American people enjoy. He also has the right to stand on my two feet”. The speaker implies that even he has the right to lead a normal life like the other American people. He and his people are being oppressed, pushed to the ground, by the oppressive laws and unjust discrimination of the American people. He and his people are being oppressed, pushed to the ground, by the oppressive laws and unjust discrimination of the American authorities. Both the colored people and the white people have accepted America as their motherland.

It is also his motherland and hence he also has the right to own a piece of land in America that he can call his own. He and his people are as patriotic to their motherland as the white Americans.

In the third stanza the poet shows that he is desperate to have equal rights. He refers to his own people. He criticizes them saying that he is tired of hearing them speak of patience. He is eager to raise his voice and fight for his rights. He does not want to wait and is tired of hearing ‘Let things take their course / Tomorrow is another day’ His people feel that freedom will come in the future if they wait patiently and it is better it takes its own time. The poet is eager to have his freedom. He cannot wait patiently for freedom. The poet fears that he would be dead by the time they get freedom. The poet may also mean that ‘Death itself is freedom and who needs freedom when one is dead’. He wants equality soon. ’

He is starving for freedom He can’t “live on tomorrow’s bread” by starving himself today. He means that he cannot deal with racism any more, and he can’t wait forever for it to end.

Here the poet lays emphasis on ‘Freedom’. The idea , the urge, the need for freedom is ‘strongly seeded’, in their hearts. The seed of freedom is planted because it is in a great need. They have planted the seed of freedom, because they need it greatly, similar to growing crops for nourishing our body and lives. They have been discriminated and oppressed for such a long time that they are in great need, they are hungry for freedom. They need freedom to nourish their lives. Everybody deserves freedom Here the poet is addressing the white people of America. He asserts that he is also a legal citizen of America like them because he also lives in America. Hence they are no different from him He too deserves the same freedom they have and it is unfair of them to deny it to him and his people.

English Summary

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