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Word Count: 908
Robert Hayden the twentieth century poet wrote poems that many times used history and form that allowed him to craft narratives that had different voices He used historic themes in many of his poems to show the shared heritage of the African Americans He also used form to get his message across invoking a sense of speed ideas or to use different voices to focus the poem through His poems Night Death Mississippi and Runagate Runagate both showcase his use of history and the ways he used form in his poetry In his poem Night Death Mississippi Hayden writes about the lynching a black man late at night somewhere in Mississippi This is a historic poem written in a grisly but effective manner It is historically accurate in telling the story of a lynching in the details The white men coming at night the white robes and the details of the lynching are all historic and true things The lynching in the poem is unspecific as it could be any one of hundreds that have occurred in the south since the Civil War The poems main theme or idea is to show how completely inhuman blacks were thought to be In the first part of the poem an old white man sits on the porch in the darkness listening to the cry of the lynched black man He is sick and too weak to go out with the lynching party but he wishes he were out there He also remembers fondly the time he had cut of the genitals of a black man and listened to him scream in pain The second part of the poem focuses on the son and he tells the details of the lynching and why he enjoyed better then hunting animals All of this serves to show the actual feelings many whites had or still have about blacks mainly in the south but they exist elsewhere too The poem Night
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