Christopher C. DeSantis: On "Goodbye Christ"

With Hughes's disgust at the generally bleak state of life in America came a profound mistrust of religion, particularly directed at those people who used Christianity as a cloak behind which to hide their oppressive actions. "Goodbye, Christ" most explicitly conveys Hughes's attitude at the time. Where the call for revolution was softened by imagery in "Tired," here Hughes unleashes words of anger and bitterness which make clear his political posture:

Listen, Christ,

You did alright in your day, I reckon—

But that day's gone now.

They ghosted you up a swell story, too,

Called it Bible--

But it's dead now.

The popes and the preachers’ve

Made too much money from it.

They've sold you to too many.

In the poem Hughes examines, or rather obliterates, the tenets set forth in a supposedly Christian country. If a majority of Americans do indeed call themselves Christians, why then do we witness so much suffering, so much oppression? During the time in which the poem was written Hughes made a journey to the Soviet Union and saw Socialism working, whereas in America, Christianity had failed. Though resources in the Soviet Union were meager, Hughes notes the fact that "white and black, Asiatic and European, Jew and Gentile stood alike as citizens on an equal footing protected from racial inequalities by the law" (Good Morning Revolution). Hughes thus called for a rethinking of dominant American beliefs and an acceptance of the tenets of Marxism:

Goodbye,

Christ Jesus Lord God Jehovah,

Beat it on away from here now.

Make way for a new guy with no religion at all—

A real guy named

Marx Communist Lenin Peasant Stalin worker ME . . . .

From "Rage, Repudiation, and Endurance: Langston Hughes’s Radical Writings." The Langston Hughes Review (1993).

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Criticism Overview
Title Christopher C. DeSantis: On "Goodbye Christ" Type of Content Criticism
Criticism Author Christopher C. DeSantis Criticism Target Langston Hughes
Criticism Type Poet Originally Posted 28 Sep 2015
Publication Status Excerpted Criticism Publication No Data
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