“Early Autumn” by Langston Hughes Analysis

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In Early Autumn” by Langston Hughes, the setting is used to reveal the characters’ psychological states and convey their sense of loss. The time of day and season, “nearly sunset” and “early autumn,” illustrate the relationship between the two characters is almost over and time is running out. The busy street of Washington Square shows that life goes on and people can get in the way of relationships. The park symbolizes the distance between them, and the use of “old and young” shows the contrast between their ages and the time that has passed since they last saw each other. Time and space slowly change people, and the characters’ relationship finalizes when Mary’s bus arrives, and Bill holds out his hand to say goodbye as people come between them. Overall, the essay demonstrates how irrational decisions can alter lives, and how the setting can convey deeper meanings and emotions.”

Table of Content

Explain how Hughes uses setting to reveal the characters’ psychological states and to convey their sense of loss. I Used To Love You “Early Autumn” by Langston Hughes describes everyday life situations between people. Hughes uses the essay to show how irrational decisions can alter lives. He mentions the time of day “nearly sunset” and “early autumn” to illustrate the relationship between the two characters was almost over and time was running out.

The place, “Washington Square”, is a busy street and the people going by shows that life goes on. “The leaves fell slowly from the trees in the Square. Fell without wind. ” autumn dusk” depicts the relationship cannot be saved. “Early Autumn” by Langston Hughes uses descriptive words and setting to demonstrate how the relationship between the two characters has evolved. In the story, Hughes tells us about two young people who were in love, and because of a simple misunderstanding ended their relationship and never spoke again.

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His use of vivid phrases like “Nearly sunset. Cold”, cabarets how Bill feels about Mary after seeing her many years later. Another point that Hughes brings to the attention of the reader is that “A great many people went past them through the park”; which makes evident that they allow people and time to get in the way of their relationship. The Park symbolizes how much distance there is between them. Mary still has feelings for Bill and finds herself thinking of the past.

Bill on the other hand was very uncomfortable about seeing Mary again and participates in the conversation to be polite. Bill was determined to show Mary that he had moved on and was doing well. He volunteered that he was a lawyer with a “nice firm, way downtown” to signify that he wanted to keep the distance between them. Hughes applies the words “old and young” to show the contrast between not only their ages, but the amount of time that passed since they last saw each other.

In the end, this essay shows that time and space slowly changes people. Bill and Mary were once in love, but like the leaves of the autumn evening they fall apart. Hughes’ use of season, age and time, underlines how far apart Mary and Bill have become. Their relationship finalizes when Mary states, “There’s my bus” and Bill holds out his hand and says “Good-by” and “People came between them outside, people crossing the street, people they didn’t know”. “Space and people”. This brought closure to their relationship.

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“Early Autumn” by Langston Hughes Analysis. (2017, Mar 15). Retrieved from


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