Paper 3 - Kelly Truitt ENGL 1102-Franks Theme for English B...

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Kelly Truitt April 18, 2011 ENGL 1102-Franks “Theme for English B”- A Race for Equality In the poem “Theme for English B,” by Langston Hughes, Hughes portrays the African American struggle for equality, which is a common theme in Hughes' poems, and the injustices that they face during the 1950's. The poem is about an African-American boy from Winston-Salem who is asked by his instructor to write a paper for his class. The instructor says to his students,"let that page come out of you-Then, it will be true”(Hughes). The poem is then continued as the boy's paper. He tries to find his identity, but ends up struggling with the issue of racism, but at the same time, he displays how all races influence one another. The speaker explains everything that is in his heart, his true identity. His paper illustrates exactly how an African-American man feels, acts and what he does in everyday life, yet he is afraid that it will be graded differently due to his race. In the end, his only wish is to be accepted as not a black man, but an American, just as he should be. Although Hughes explains the commonalities between the two races, he manages to write a poem that is representational of his own colored background and how different race groups interact by focusing on the setting of the poem, use of language and imagery, and the overall formal structure. The assignment given to the students comes off as a simple, easy paper to write about because it is a paper about yourself, what is true to you and your identity. But the speaker is not sure “it's that simple”(Hughes). He quickly begins to list all the reasons that this certain assignment might not be as

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