Early in my studies I stumbled across, “I, Too” by Langston Hughes and have returned to the poem many times since; discovering each read some new emotion or reality that was not there before. In his novel, A History of Reading Alberto Manguel discusses these new discoveries, and attributes them to the development of our reading skills. At first glance the chapter, “Learning to Read” intrigued me, but I was unsure of what to expect.
As an avid reader I like to think the array of tools and resources I have learned to use throughout the years, have been sufficient in guiding me in my dissections of literature. Upon diving further into his insights, however, it is clear that learning to read is not the discussion, but rather the focus is on why we read the way we do. This explanation guided me in discovering the old habits of teachers whose primary responsibilities, consisted of educating publics in order to obtain, “a common social history of [shared] politics, philosophy, and faith.” (Manguel 83).
Because of Manguel’s analysis of the origins of reading literature, I was encouraged to engage in the discovery of the endless amounts of complexities within history, that have determined the development of the reading habits we have today — But more importantly, the reading explained for me why phrases from “ I, Too” such as, “They’ll see how beautiful I am/ And be ashamed—” along with “ I too, am America” develop new emotions and realities that resonate differently throughout the years; we, in essence, are not who we once were and therefore, neither is the literature we read.
— Andrea Rodriguez, Blogger.
Manguel, Roberto. A History of Reading. Penguin Books Ltd., 1996.
Langston Hughes, “I, Too” from The Collected Works of Langston Hughes. Copyright © 2002 by Langston Hughes. Reprinted by permission of Harold Ober Associates, Inc.
Andrea Rodriguez’s Bio
Andrea Rodriguez is a senior at Lewis University. Prior to attending Lewis, she completed her associates at the College of DuPage. Rodriguez is studying English Literature in order to pursue a career as an academic librarian. As for her interests, Andrea loves spending time with her family, being in nature, taking care of her plants, writing, cooking, and traveling when she can. Andrea also enjoys exploring unique writing styles. Some of her favorite pieces include The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man by James Weldon Johnson and “Girl” by Jamaica Kincaid. In addition to being a fiction/poetry editor for Jet Fuel Review, Rodriguez is the editor-in-chief of Lewis Voices, and the administrative director for Sigma Tau Delta, of which she is also a member.