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Theme for English B - Different, but the Same

Uploaded by ggr on Nov 15, 2001

In the poem, Theme for English B, Langston Hughes points out that we are often reluctant to admit that our similarities are often more common than our differences. Even though he is colored, he is still just like his white instructor in many ways. The colored man may appear to be different from the white man on the outside, but we are all the same on the inside. His skin color is different, and he comes from different a background, yet we have many things in common with each other.

Hughes is only twenty-two, the only colored student in the class, and lives at the Y in Harlem. His instructor is older, white, and presumably lives in an upper class neighborhood. They are different in age, skin color, and are from different backgrounds. They are similar in that they both are engaged in the study of English literature at “the college on the hill”

Hughes likes to “eat, sleep, drink, and be in love” and “work, read, learn, and understand life” (822) presumably just as the instructor or any other person, either colored or white, enjoys. He also likes “Bessie, bop, or Bach” (822). Typically, the Bessie and bop style of music is listened to mostly by the colored people. However, he also likes Bach, which is typically listened to mostly by the white people. So, even though he is colored, they are connected in that he likes things common to all races, even the music common to the white people.

Hughes appears to regret his involvement in some portions of the instructor’s world. He does not want to be a part of the white man, and believes that his white instructor does not want to be a part of him either. Hughes admits that he can learn from his instructor, and hopes that his instructor can learn from him. They both recognize that they can learn from their involvement and their differences from each other. He does not want to be judged as a colored man, but wants to be accepted as the man that he is – an American. Although they are different in the color of their skin, they are connected in that they are both American.

We may come from different backgrounds and have some different likes, but we are all connected and can learn from each other. We must be accepting of each other, and appreciate our...

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Uploaded by:   ggr

Date:   11/15/2001

Category:   Poetry

Length:   2 pages (412 words)

Views:   1950

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