Langston Hughes is considered by many readers to be the most significant black poet of the twentieth century. Except for a few examples, all his poems are about social injustice in America. The somber tone of his writing often reflected his mood. Race relations were present in almost his whole career, following him from his first poem to his last.
The poem “Doorknobs” was written in 1961 after his subpoena to appear before Senator McCarthy
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showed last 75 words of 484 total
of a yesterday past grandpa
not of our own doing.
“Doorknobs” is a sad poem; the poem deals with the struggle and search for identity, and a struggle of the individual vs. the Universe. The mood is fear, and perhaps terror of his surroundings. At the end, we are left with the feeling that the child went on living his life in terror and afraid of everything that surrounded him even after becoming an adult.