Theme for English B
Uploaded by Hunnie522 on Jul 02, 1999
In the poem "Theme for English B", by Langston Hughes, Hughes talks about the African American struggle for equality. This is a common subject for Hughes. In many of his poems he speaks about blacks and the injustices that they face. Another common subject for Hughes is the town, Harlem, which is also mentioned in "Theme for English B."
The poem starts off with an instructor giving his students a paper to write, the instructor says to the student, "let that page come out of you-Then, it will be true." The poem is continued as the paper that Hughes is writing. In the paper, he explains everything in his heart, just as his instructor had told him to.
His paper illustrates exactly how an African-American man feels, acts and what he does in everyday life. The point that Hughes tries to get across to his teacher is clear, that he, the black man, likes and does the same things as the white man. The difference being how the world views the two races. Hughes wonders if his paper will be graded differently because he is black. In the poem he says, "I guess being colored doesn't make me not like the same things other folks like who are other races So will my page be colored that I write?"
Hughes was not asking for sympathy, or for an apology, just understanding. He knows that even that will be hard, considering that he and his professor come from two completely different worlds. He explains that a black man will always have an impact on a white man's life, and vice versa; but Hughes knows that the white man wants no part of the black man's life. Hughes' only meager wish is to be accepted-not as a black man, but as an American.