|Type of paper:||Essay|
|Categories:||Poem International relations Langston Hughes Modernist literature|
The distrust between Russia and the United States of America can be traced to have existed before the Second World War. The two nations had had poor relationships since the Russian Revolution of 1917. A revolution which removed Russia from the war and played a significant role in the transformation of the Russian Empire into the Union of Soviet Socialist Republic popularly referred to as U.S.S.R. The U.S. was anxious about the revolution since they feared that it would spread to Western Europe and America in particular. The revolution was also not going to allow them to advance their economic agenda in Russia. Therefore, the paper is premised on exploring the long-term distrust between Russia and the United States of America from the last 100 years. The text, "I Wonder as I Wander," by Langston Hughes and the Brooklyn Bridge by Vladimir Mayakovsky will help in exploring the thesis based on their imagery concerning the distrust between the two great nations. The first text, "I Wonder as I Wander," by Langston recounts Langston's visit to Russia and presents Russians as good people, a situation which is different with the Americans who full of racial prejudice. The second text, the Brooklyn Bridge by Vladimir goes contrary to the opinion and presents the United States as a world full of opportunities where people embrace diversity hence out ruling the views of Langston Hughes. The texts, therefore, serves the best purpose in explaining the long-term distrust between Russia and America from the last 100 years considering how the author presents their opinion and tend to lean towards a particular nation.
The Germany invasion of Russia in 1914 escalated the distrust since the Russians were of the view that the Americans failed to stop Hitler in advancing his invasion strategies. The Second World War saw the Russians suffer terribly with at least 28 million people dying. At that point, the Russians had distrust towards the United States; they argued that America played a significant role in encouraging Hitler during their intervention in the Russian Civil War which took place between 1918 and 19. Another situation of distrust between the two nations is revealed from the Russian Archives which recognizes that the relations between the Soviet Union and the United States were driven by the complex economic, political and ideological interplay, a situation that led to shifting of caution cooperation and bitter superpower rivalry. Russia and America had distinct differences in their political systems, an issue which prevented their mutual understanding on key policies and further scaled the distrust. The time was also marked by a period of Great Depression in America. The depression came with serious negative effects on the U.S. economy. At that time, Russia was part of the Soviet Union hence exempted from the situation. Its economy was doing well and was recognized by many parts of the world. The Russian government created employment for many people with some being the African-American as well providing better pay. On the other hand, the United States had very limited jobs with much-qualified personnel. The situation forced some of the American workers to cross to Russia for employment. Most of them acquired the jobs and were offered good treatment even though the two nations could not agree on matters that would unite them. The United States' government was opposed to the fact that the Soviet leaders considered taking Russia as part of the Soviet States. It, therefore, considered in embarking on rebuilding its economy and avoided any diplomatic relations with Russia. Joseph Stalin also presented an insurmountable obstacle to the friendly ties with the United States of America. In consideration of the Second World War which was first approaching, the two nations tried coming together to defeat a common enemy who was Germany. Most historians contend that even with the war, Russia and the United States entered serious distrust coupled with superpower conflict. They also disagreed with each other on the nuclear and missile arms race.
The text of Langston Hughes, 'I Wonder as I Wander,' thus fit in offering further exploration pertaining the long-term distrust between Russia and the United States considering the historical overview noted above. The text majors on informing about the dramatic and intimate times of Langston Hughes' life with the view of the turbulent of the 1920's and 30s. Most of his journeys at the time led him to Russia, Cuba, Japan, the United States, Europe, Mexico, and Spain just to mention a few. The text also notes the period to have been characterized by Civil Wars through dictatorships and revolutions. In most of his travels, Hughes identified himself as an African American a situation which led to the discussion of his text based on the color lines and the effects of racism (Langston, 78). Langston Hughes went further to image the surrounding of history, culture, and matters socioeconomic. His text also affirmed the serious racial prejudice that existed in the United States between 1920 and 30. Based on Hughes color and race, he was subjected to racial discrimination, a situation which made him like other American scholars who saw little opportunity in their land to move to Russia. Unexpectedly, the Russian welcomed them and gave them job opportunities. Even though people thought that they were absorbing the many Americans who lacked jobs, they tried to prove to the United States that they were superior and could pass through the Great Depression as opposed to the enemy state. The American Government showed no appreciation on the favor done to them by the Russians and began to begin singing anti-African America and anti-Soviet rhetoric. The same was noted in their media which reported how the Russians poorly treated and starved those who went to look for jobs. Langston noted of the Russians offering jobs to the African Americans and the Whites from the White collar class in the entertainment industry, a place where they worked as the scriptwriters and actors and were paid greatly.
America on their part went ahead with the distrust game and intensified the racial prejudice against the African-Americans. Based on the accounts given by Langston Hughes in, "I Wonder as I Wander, it can be concluded that much of his literary work focused on the relationship between Russia and the United States during the Great Depression period. Even though Russia appeared to accommodate most of the Americans and the African-Americans who lacked jobs back in their homeland, they were not appreciated by the American government. The United States took up the opportunity and fueled further distrust and racial prejudice towards the non-Americans (Langston, 89). Most critics and historians agreed with the opinions of Langston and blamed the crossroads of the two great nation on the different economic system which has seen them at war to date.
The distrust between Russia and the United States can also be argued based on the poem, "The Brooklyn Bridge," by Vladimir Mayakovsky. Vladimir gives his views pertaining his visit to America. The recounts appear different from those that were made by Langston Hughes. Vladimir mirrors the Americans as people who were accommodative and valued diversity. They gave employment opportunities to the outsiders who played a significant role in the building structures to facilitate the movement of people. Most of his views went contrary to those of Langston Hughes considering that the latter imaged the United States as a land full of racial prejudice coupled with discrimination towards the African Americans. He, instead, gave praise to the same land through the imagery of the Brooklyn Bridge from different perspectives (Mayakovsky, 80). While he imaged the bridge from the positive dimension, he also spoke on the negative sides. He mentioned that from the spot of the bridge there existed the jobless men and women who leaped headlong through the Hudson. It was from the statement that the bridge stood to serve two functions which were dependent on the people who approached the gates of New York City. An example was noted on the people who committed suicide next to the Brooklyn Bridge when they realized they could not take life anymore. Vladimir Mayakovsky also spoke about the bridge with some sense of pride. The sense was majorly focused on imaging the bridge to have possessed some sense of power. It gave people to options, one of acquiring aspirations for a better future while the one was on death. The aspiration in the sense of having the determination of acquiring jobs in the United States as opposed to those who perished. As noted previously, the Brooklyn Bridge also stood at the gates of New York City hence imaging a new beginning in a new world. The world could either be one full of sunshine or one which is darker. It is, therefore, arguably that the analysis of the poem agreed that there existed serious distrust between the two nations with each of them trying to depict the other negatively. The drawn can be noted in the case of Langston Hughes in, "I Wonder as I Wander," where the United States was mirrored to be a nation full of racial prejudice, at the time, the American Newspapers also gave negative opinions towards their Russian counterparts. Vladimir's literary work may also be viewed as a representation of two different ideas or manifesto, the Communist Manifesto for the Russian and the Capitalists for the Americans. Mayakovsky literary work may also be viewed to celebrate the modern industrialization through the comparison of his experiences at the bridge to that of the religious fanatic.
In conclusion, long-term distrust between Russia and the United States of America from the last 100 years is one which has brought serious challenges to the nations. The two texts, therefore, applied various artistic and technical methods in enhancing the understanding of the distrust which has existed between the 1920s and 30s. They both used allegory to show how the two nations engaged in cold battles with the climax being on the Great Depression where Russia stood a better economic position as opposed to the United States which had serious economic challenges. The views presented by Langston Hughes in, "I Wonder as I Wander," contrasts with those of Mayakovsky in, The Brooklyn Broadway to a greater extent. The two individuals visited Russia and the United States respectively and offered contrasting opinions. Even though Mayakovsky spoke little about Russia, it is clear that both Russia and the United States were in serious crossroads hence the distrust as confirmed by the conflicting opinions. It is, therefore, significant to carefully read the two texts to understand the genesis of the distrust which exists between Russia and the United States.
Langston, Hughes. "I Wonder as I Wander." Rinehart & Company, Inc, 1956.
Mayakovsky, Vladimir. "The Broadway" and "Brooklyn Bridge." Northwestern University Press.
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