The poem “Ballad of the Landlord” by Langston Hughes has different speakers.
The main speaker of the poem is the black tenant, who politely reports some problems with the house:
My roof has sprung a leak.
Don’t you ’member I told you about it
Way last week? (ll. 1-4)
It is worth noting that the tenant’s African-American identity is only revealed at the end when the newspaper headline mentions that he is a “negro” (l. 33).
In the beginning, the tenant is calm and offers some suggestions regarding the improvement of his living conditions. However, the tenant’s words include a hint of irony when he suggests that the landlord is unbothered by the condition of the house, like in the following example:
These steps is broken down...