Theme For English B By Langston Hughes

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Theme for English B by Langston Hughes


In his poem Theme for English B, a response to an assignment given by his class instructor and Langston Hughes writes about the differences between himself and his instructor's race. He talks about being the only colored person in his class and expresses the feeling of being similar to other races, primarily white and yet different throughout the poem. Although he details the commonalities between the two races, Langston manages to write a poem that is representational of his colored ethnic background, using his community, Harlem and as a source of inspiration.

Theme for English B by Langston Hughes

The instructor's assignment in the poem can be interpreted as a challenge to the students to write a paper with feeling and emotion. In the poem and the instructor advises the students to, Go home and write a page tonight. And let that page come out of you, the instructor believes that by getting the students to write a paper from the heart and whatever is written will be true.

Langston's paper, in the form of a poem and details what he feels. His feelings come from his school and community, Harlem and its impact ON him. For example and Brent Staples in his essay Black Men in Public Spaces narrates about the fear he imposes ON mainly white women in public spaces. In his essay and Staples details many of his experiences in which he was the victim of racial profiling. He gives details about women crossing the street and even quickening their steps to avoid his presence. The experiences Langston would have felt being the only colored person in his classroom would have been similar to experiences Staples narrates about in his essay (Christian, 464). Langston therefore draws ON his experiences from going to school and living in Harlem, a poor community at the time and expresses it in his poem, I feel and see and hear Harlem and I hear you: hear you, hear me-we two-you, me and talk ON this page.

Harlem does not only have an effect ON Langston but ON his white professor and classmates as well. They are going to school in the community ON a daily bases and share in the same emotions Harlem imposes ON Langston. This is a parallel link between the races Langston does not address. He fails to show how the similar effects a poor neighborhood will have ON any race. Instead he chooses to illustrate everyday activities almost all races engage in. He states in the poem I like to eat, sleep and drink, and I like to work, read, learn and understand life. By using these mundane activities he manages not to single himself out from his classmates or his instructor and but shows the similarities they share. He uses the statement I guess being colored doesn't make me not like the same things other folks like who are other races. to further strengthen his point of being comparable to his white counterparts. Using these common ...
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