The Poem “Ballad of the Landlord” by Langston Hughes Essay

The main speaker in this ballad is an unnamed Negro tenant trying to get justice and persuade the landlord to renovate his house. The ballad is actually a dialogue between the tenant and the landlord, although the first five stanzas represent only the tenants’ side of the dialogue. Thus, it becomes perfectly apparent how the mood of the main speaker changes and disappointment grows. The ballad compares value: how many words of a Black man go unheard and how little a white man had to say to ruin the first’s life. In addition, by depriving the landlord of words, Hughes made the character less personalized, thereby making the landlord a reflection of the racist society of that time.

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