Protests of 1935: "An Analysis of Air Raid Over Harlem"
When the Italian forces invaded the nation of Ethiopia in 1935 it disturbed many African Americans throughout the United States. This incident caused many blacks to protest in the streets of Harlem, New York. In Langston Hughes poem, "Air Raid over Harlem" (1935), he uses the literary devices of colloquial language, capitalization, and rhyme to illustrate the feelings, thoughts, and actions of many Americans during the time of these rebellious acts.
Hughes uses a great deal of colloquial language throughout the poem to show how Americans felt during this time period. The narrator, a black man, shares many of his feelings with the reader during the poem. He has many conversations with a white man about the different aspects of the protests and of the different things that take place. For example, the narrator tells the white man of how his people have been quiet and peaceful too long and if they have to use physical force to get their point across then they will. The white man replies, "You're just making up/ A fake funny picture ain't you? Not real, not real? (58-60). The white man thinks he jokes around and makes up some magical fairy tale that doesn't make any sense. The white man's reply demonstrates the common viewpoint white people felt during the early stages of the protesting.His choice of words and the way he uses them shows that education levels for white Americans weren't that high during this time period.
Hughes uses a good example of colloquial language when the narrator tells the white man about the horrible things that happen to his people during the protest. He mentions police hitting people with billy-clubs and splitting their heads open making them bleed. He also talks about how the police send bullets throughout the streets of Harlem and leave the wounded and dead laying helplessly. In an angry voice th…