20 Sep

                                               Item1: Poem.

By Langston Hughes
 My old man’s a white old man
And my old mother’s black.
If ever I cursed my white old man
I take my curses back.

If ever I cursed my black old mother
And wished she were in hell,
I’m sorry for that evil wish
And now I wish her well.

My old man died in a fine big house.
My ma died in a shack.
I wonder where I’m gonna die,
Being neither white nor black?

  1. Rhetorical devices


  • “White old man”  stands for the White race. “Black old mother” stands for the Black race => the social implication of the author’s mixed racial heritage
  • “a fine big house”: Property.
  • “a shack”: Poverty.
  • Cross: This has two indicative meanings. The first, cross is considered the anger the author ever suffered since his father and mother passed on to him an amalgam of genes. In another way of understanding, “cross” means the crossroad where the poet was standing at after forgiving his mother and father. The road to the right is for white people. The road to the left is for black people.


    • My old man ~ my old mother
    • Curse my white old man ~ curse my black old mother
    • Died in a fine bog house ~ died in a shack

=> Two lives are put on parallel lines to show the contrast between two races.

  Rhetorical question: “I wonder where I’m gonna die,
                                   Being neither white nor black?”

=>  The unanswered question remains in the poet’s mind with his wound when standing at the crossroad.

Rhyme: Black – Back, Hell – Well, Shack – Black.


  • My, man, mother, ma.
  • White, wish, were, well, wonder.
  1. Underlying message.

This poem explores the racism present in society. He is an amalgam of genes, for there were two streams of different blood running through his vein, one was of his white father, and another belonged to his black mother. Although being half white and half black, he recognized the benefit in being in white and was opposed to black. Ever having felt shame of sharing the black blood with his mother, he was then regreted this attitude after realizing the unfair treatment in life time. After all, he found himself being at the crossroad where he suffered a burden of unanswered questions. How history would pan out for people like him? Would black people eventually have the benefits and the living standard like the white?  Questions were set for everyone of us to look over the whole society we are living. Is equality always there for all different races so that no one would have to die in a shack

                                         Item2: St

                                    A no name story

 There was a farmer who harvest corns for a living.

On day, he asked his son over to his side and said to his son, “Son, I want you to go to the field and pick out the corns which you think are the most good-looking and well-packaged and bring them to me. You have a time limit of 2 hours, so do not waste your time.”

The son then dutifully went into the fields to pick out the corns. He looked around and found a corn which fits the criteria. He picked it up and continue moving.

Soon after, he saw another corn which better fit the criteria. He threw away the first corn in this hand and picked up the second corn.

Continuing walking, the son then set his eyes on yet another better fitting criteria corn. He threw away the second corn and picked up the third.

The son then went around the field in search of corns which fit the criteria. When the time limit was up, he returned to his father, carrying a whole bunch of corns in his hands.

“Very good son! Now, I’ll need you to go to the field again and this time, help me look for just a corn without worms in the core. You do not have a time limit for this.”, said the father.

The son, upon hearing the farmer’s request, went back into the fields in search for the corn.

Firstly, he picked up a corn which seems to look good on the outside. However, upon checking, he realised that there were worms in the core of the corn. He tossed it away and went in search again for the corn.

The second corn he picked up looked even better then the first. However, there were too, worm holes in the corn.

Tossing it away, the farmer’s son started searching for the corn again, determined to find it.

After a very long, the farmer saw his son running towards him. The son proudly told his father that he had found the corn which fits the criteria and placed in his father’s hands, a rather plain looking corn.

Proud of his son, the farmer told his son, “Son, treat the good-looking and well-packaged corns as your girlfriends. They are pretty, good-looking and well-packaged, but they don’t usually are the kinds you look for as a partner for your life. That’s the reason why you are given 2 hours to look for them.”

“Treat the plain looking corn as your wife. It may not be good-looking, it may just be a rather plain looking corn, but at the very least, it has a clean core. For this if you realised, you aren’t given a time limit to find this particular corn and u actually took a lot longer time to search for this one corn. That’s why, you are given your entire lifetime to just search for the right person.”

 1.Rhetorical devices


    • “good-looking and well-packaged corns”: Girlfriends who are are pretty, and well-dressed.
    • “plain looking corn”: The only girl who is not good-looking but is clean and nice in her living and her soul.
    • “two hours”: a short period of time possibly to find pretty girlfriends
    • “no limit of time”: a long period of a lifetime to search for the only girl the boy wants.
    • “worm in the core”: evils, bad qualities from the real nature of people.
    • The field of corns: The real life where exist both bad and good hman beings.


We can easily find good-looking and well-dressed people around us. Howerver, it takes such a long time or even a lifetime to know about the real nature of a person. The core inside each one should never be judged over his or her outer manner or clothes she or he wears. Never necessarily rush to find a nice one because get to know about one just take short time, but it could take your whole life to learn about his or her soul.

                                          Item3: Picture.

As we can see from pictures, the artist used the imagery of bar codes with panic weeping kids. Who are they? The estimated number of people, mainly women and chirlden were trafficked intoAmericafor the sex industry, which has been an aching issue of our society.    The artist then sets a red alarm for everyone of us: American chirlden are at high risk for trafficking into the sex industry each year.






3 Responses to “Entry1_HoangThiLeHang”

  1. tranthiphuongthao September 22, 2011 at 12:34 am #

    At first, I wanna say that I really like your poem; it’s so meaningful and full of emotion. I agree partly with you about some rhetorical devices and the underlying message of the poem you have pointed out. And, I have some supplementary ideas which I wanna share with you. First, I think the title of the poem “Cross” does not mean the anger of the author or the crossroad where he’s standing at, “Cross” here means “the mixture of two races, two colors”, it may be just a piece of background information about the author which he wants to emphasize. You said that, “cross” means the crossroad where the poet was standing at after forgiving his mother and father.”, but I don’t find any evidence in the poem showing that he forgives his father, all he feels sorry is his evil wish that his black mother were in hell. Second, in my point of view, this poem is about not only the racism in society, but also the inequality in a family and the sorrow of the child in that family. Actually, the more I read this poem, the sadder I fell it is. Maybe this child was not a blossom of a beautiful love, but he was an unexpected consequence of an illegal affair. Therefore, he could not receive the love from his rich white father, and had to live hardly with his poor black mother. That was the reason why he cursed his parents. And finally, I feel that the rhetorical question in the end of the poem shows clearly the child’s worry. When both his parents were dead, he wondered what his fate would be in a society with racial discrimination: being white and living in wealth, or being black and living in poverty? It’s actually an aching question.

  2. nguyenlelinh September 22, 2011 at 3:20 pm #

    To Thảo: The son DOES regret after cursing his father as he says: “If ever I cursed my white old man / I Take My Curses Back.”
    However, I agree with your about the title, it does not mean the “crossroad” of forgiving his parents or not. In the narrow sense, it means “mixed-blood”. In the broad sense, it may be understood as the “crossroad” where the writer stands. He doesn’t know how his life would be , better or worse or what he can do to make it better.
    Pay attention that the poem was written in 1926 when racism in the US was serious,when a rich white man would never marry a black woman, therefore, the writer must have been born unexpectedly. His life must have been very hard. Sometimes, he might blame his parents for giving birth to him. Nevertheless, they are his parents, he couldn’t really hate them.That’s the reason why he regrets after cursing them.
    The writer just feels sorry for his life and wonder how his life would be.
    The poem is about racism, I think.

    About the picture, I am very confused 😐 How can you know that people are woman and children trafficked into Americafor the sex industry?

  3. hoangthilehang September 30, 2011 at 4:27 am #

    @Thao and Linh: I am sorry for my mistake. In fact, the writer felt sorry for having cursed his mother, not his father (but actually I added the words “his father” stupidly =.=)
    @Thao: you said that you did not agree with my opinion that the title “cross” also meant the author’s anger when he had to stand at the crossroad between being white and being black. However, I think the word “cross” itself conveys variety of meanings. Among those, it means the anger. Why so? because normally when a child was born and realized that he did not recieve any favour from the society due to his strange background, he naturally felt angry.
    @Linh: About the pictures. In fact, these pictures were displayed in an exhibition. Under each, the artist left his words wich said so =)

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