Can anybody help me analyze deeply the setting in "Theme for English B" by Langston Hughes please?

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mkcapen1's profile pic

mkcapen1 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Valedictorian

Posted on

Langston Hughes, the author of "Theme for English B," was born into a time when African Americans were beginning to move towards becoming educated in ways that had formerly been denied to their parents.  Hughes writes about being the only colored person in his class.  He is full of youth and desires and things to experience.  He does not fully know himself yet.  He is aware that he is still growing.  However, he is also aware that the part of him that has lived for 22 years has and is experiencing life as a New Yorker and as a member of the community in Harlem.  He is part of the music and events around him.  He has likes and dislikes. 

Hughes also expresses that just because his skin color is not white does not mean that he does not like many of the same things that white people do.  He is strongly aware that he is colored and that makes him different.  He is questioning how his experiences as a colored person will affect his writing and what it will reveal about him. 

Finally, Hughes address the relationship between himself and his instructor.  He knows that his instructor may have some inner feelings about having to teach him or that the white man perceives Hughes different than he may see himself.  He also recognizes that just because he is not white, it does not mean that the time spent with the instructor will have no influence on him.  He knows that no matter what level of relationship they have, that they will learn from one another.

Hughes writes the poem in response to a class writing assignment.  His poem has become his page for hi English B class.


gros1802's profile pic

gros1802 | Student, College Freshman | eNotes Newbie

Posted on

I dont have much to add except to say that I agree with "mkcapen1". The 22 year old student isnt saying that him being the only black student in the class make him standout in a bad way, but that it will allow for a different experience versus an all white or all black class.

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