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February 2019

The WW Fenn Decision

No Ghost Writing


“When a man starts out to build a world, He starts first with                         himself”-Langston Hughes

        For the past three years I have selected a famous speech to memorize and present for the WW Fenn. However, I have come to find that often speeches spoken by prominent people in history, like JFK, were not actually written by the speaker, but rather by a speechwriter. With this in mind, I knew that choosing a piece of literature versus a speech would be a better choice. Barry Hannah, who was an American novelist best describes literature as “history of the soul.” I agree with this statement about literature and began to search for meaningful poems to pick from. I focused my search on poems mostly because they are the easiest way to get a message across in a short time frame (1 minute and 30 seconds). Sometimes it takes a whole book to get a similar message across. Others believe that poetry is “the crown of literature” (Somerset Maugham). With a couple of poems in mind I had an important decision to make around the tone of the poem I would finally select. I chose a more meaningful poem instead of a silly poem. I was especially interested in the writing of Langston Hughes as we had studied the civil rights movement and Hughes was one of the best writers of all time and was an activist in against racism. Hughes’ morals are obvious in his poetry and share a powerful message. In “Let America Be America Again”, he conveys a powerful message about what America has become and that message resonates with me very much. At the beginning he repeats the title and uses parallel structure “Let America be America again. Let it be the dream it used to be. Let it be the pioneer on the plain.” In parts of the poem he speaks about different types/groups of people who have been neglected “I am the Negro bearing slavery's scars. I am the red man driven from the land” and provides them with a voice. Here he again uses parallel structure with “I am.” He concludes his poem by speaking how we the people must take back/redeem this America that it used to be. The poem, as it talks about letting America be America, again seems to relate to some of the political battles, topics, arguments today in the battle between Republicans and Democrats. So, in that sense this poem is very relevant to today’s world. In conclusion, the decision of which piece was mostly based on how powerful/meaningful in was. Langston Hughes writing was easy to interrupt because he used many of the writing devices that we learned in the sentence building packet.