The Painful Separations


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A gentle and mild-mannered soul who spent much of his life at the center of controversy, a gregarious spirit who was also zealously private, a writer of social conscience and solidarity who was fundamentally alone, Langston Hughes
devoted his art to the true expression of the lives, hopes, fears, and angers of ordinary black people, without self-consciousness or sugar-coating. And this devotion has been repaid with an extraordinary and continuing popularity, as well as with a still-increasing critical acceptance of the literary artistry with which it was conveyed.
     James Mercer Langston Hughes was born in Joplin, Missouri, on February 1, 1902, to James Nathaniel Hughes, a lawyer and businessman, and Carrie Mercer (Langston) Hughes, a teacher. Their first child, a boy, had died in infancy. Their marriage was in trouble by the time of Langston's birth, and the couple separated shortly thereafter. James Hughes was, by his son's account, a cold man who hated blacks (and hated himself for being one), feeling that most of them deserved their ill fortune because of what he considered to be their ignorance and laziness. He went to Cuba and ultimately settled in Mexico. Langston's youthful visits to him there, although sometimes for extended periods, were strained and painful. James Hughes reluctantly paid for his son to attend Columbia University in 1921-22, but when he died in 1934, he left everything to three elderly women who had cared for him in his last illness, and Langston wasn't even mentioned in his will.
Hughes's mother went through protracted separations and reconciliations in her second marriage (she and her son from this marriage would live with him off and on in later years, often seriously depleting his limited funds, until her death in 1938). He was raised by alternately by her, by his maternal grandmother, and, after his grandmother's death, by family friends. By the time he was fourteen, he had lived in Joplin; Buffalo; Cleveland; Lawrence, Kansas; Mexico City; Topeka, Kansas; Colorado Springs; Kansas City; and Lincoln, Illinois. In 1915, he was class poet of his grammar-school graduating class in Lincoln. From 1916 to 1920, he attended Central High School in Cleveland, where he was a star athlete, wrote poetry and short stories (and published many of them in the Central High Monthly), and on his own read such modern poets as Paul Laurence Dunbar, Edgar Lee Masters, Vachel Lindsay, and Carl Sandburg. His classmates were for the most part the children of European immigrants, who treated him largely without discrimination and introduced him to leftist political ideas.
After graduation in 1920, he went to Mexico to teach English for a year. While on the train to Mexico, he wrote the poem "The Negro Speaks of Rivers," which was published in the June 1921 issue of The Crisis, a leading black publication. After his academic year at Columbia, he lived for a year in Harlem, where he supported himself by an assortment of odd jobs. In June 1923, he embarked on a six-month voyage as a cabin boy on a merchant freighter bound for West Africa. After its return, he took a job on a ship sailing to Holland. In the middle of his second round trip to Holland, he quit the job in Rotterdam and caught a train to Paris. where he lived for the better part of a year, working as a nightclub doorman and a dishwasher. He also became emotionally close to Mary Coussey, the daughter of a Nigerian-born businessman. Throughout his life, for all his personal warmth and friendliness, Hughes was an intensely private person, and no aspect of his life was more closely guarded than his sexuality: different friends and acquaintances were equally certain that he was heterosexual, homosexual, and asexual. The author of an exhaustively researched, two-volume chronicle of his life could discover no independent evidence to verify any of these conclusions, and remains convinced that the truth about Hughes's sexuality will never be known.
After being robbed on a train in Italy and working his passage back to New York in November of 1924, Hughes moved in with his mother and brother in a small, unheated apartment in Washington, D.C., where he worked in a laundry. For a time, ... more

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Victims of divorce

VICTIMS OF DIVORCE

Over the past two decades, divorce has become so widespread that it is now considered an unfortunate but inevitable risk of entering into a marriage. At the beginning of this century, getting divorced was a rare, immoral event and a social disgrace. Nowadays, ending a marriage is just a personal choice for most people regardless of its consequences, which exist especially when the children are involved.

One of the many consequences of divorce is that it becomes a crucial factor that affects the children. It is not an issue that only involves the couples. As the trends in marriages change, more and more children are negatively affected by the separations of parents. According to the information statistics on divorce, each year since the mid-1970s, more than 1 million children have experienced a family divorce. "It is projected that nearly half of all the babies born today will spend some time in a one-parent family which occurred as a result of single parenthood or divorce" (Shiono and Quinn 15). This fact indicates that the future of this world will be in the hands of the people who have lived through at least one divorce. That's why, there should be more emphasis given to divorce and more solutions should be presented for the well being of our children.

Although the parents are not the only ones who should feel responsible of this social failure, the parents can accomplish the most efficient assistance. The cost of divorce to children is so high that there is a lot to be explored, such as how these costs might be minimized and what can be done to heal the scars. That's why beside the parents, everyone should be held responsible to "maintain the childcare system while dissolving the marital system" (Furstenberg and Cherlin 28).

"The child has no say in drawing up the contract by which he or she comes into the world. Since the parents have all the power in this transaction, they also have the moral duty of making sure the contract is fair to the child" (Little 1).



The process of divorce and separation is very stressful in the life of a child. Most children go through anxiety, sadness, anger, aggression, sleep disorders and low academic achievements (Behrman and Quinn 3). It is important for parents to keep close watch on how their children cope and adjust to the divorce.

Many divorces are highly emotional can draw children into conflict. Some of the children going to a divorce may feel rejected by the departing parent. This feeling of rejection results in lowered self-esteem and depression. Some might even feel responsible for the divorce of their parents (Everett 11). Many of the children become involved in serious drug or alcohol abuse and have a difficult time establishing long-term relationships (Miller). Parents should keep in mind that it is difficult for many children to understand why their parents are not able to live together anymore (Johnston et al. 13).




One of the biggest problems that divorce brings to many parents is guilt. As a result of the parental guilt, people chose to stay together for the sake of their children. Research does not support this belief. It is not in the children's best interests for the parents to stay together if there is a high chronic marital conflict. "A harmonious intact family is best for children but a harmonious divorced environment is better than a disharmonious intact family." It is very damaging for children to witness dramatic parental conflict (Teyber 18). "There are some situations, especially those involving physical, sexual, or verbal abuse, where divorce is necessary and even beneficial to families" (Miller).

What becomes important after a separation is to find a way of helping children cope with divorce. Parents should try to diminish the negative effects of divorce on children. In order to make the process less painful for them, parents should encourage kids to talk as openly as they can about their feelings. Many clinicians believe that "the failure of parents to communicate with their children adds to the immediate burden of the divorce for children and contributes to the children's sense of uncertainty" (Furstenberg and Cherlin 24).
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the painful separations

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