Hughes, Langston. "Mulatto".
Summary and Analysis
An unrhymed experimental poem. Intermingles images of night and fragmented utterances in italics. The latter supports the subject of the poem and provides additional information concerning the attitudes of the black and the white to the mulatto and the attitudes of the mulatto to the black and the white. The speaker of the poem evaluates his theme in standard typeface, the mulatto boy speaks in italics.
The poem is heavily loaded with the allusions of colour. The blacks are compared to the night and they cherish the night. Also the pine woods are black and the fences are black. The yellow stars resemble the shade of the mulatto's skin.
The little mulatto boy announces that he is a white man's son. He feels to be white and refuses to accept the blacks as his brothers. The white man however refuses him and reminds him of his mother's skin colour. The boy is told to go back to the night, but he still insists on his being white. In fact he is yellow. The speaker of the poem calls him "A little yellow / Bastard boy" in the concluding stanza.
AuthorHughes, Langston. (1902 - 1967).
Hughes, Langston. "Mulatto". (1927). In: The Harper American Literature. Ed. Donald McQuade et al. 2nd Compact Edition. New York: Harper & Collins, 1996.