Compare and contrast the theme and setting of "Theme for English B" and "Harlem" by Langston Hughes.

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In comparison/contrast, you will show how two the poems are alike and different in terms of setting and theme.

Both are set, at least in part, in Harlem—the experience of living in Harlem is key to both. However, the Harlem setting is only made explicit in the poem "Harlem" by the title. Otherwise, Hughes uses a series of universal images that depict the corrosive effects of being part of an oppressed group with little hope of achieving dreams. He leaves the reader to pair the images with the title and understand the importance of the setting.

In "Theme for English B," in contrast, the speaker describes his trip home to his black world in Harlem, the physical journey emphasizing the black world's separateness from the white world of his English class:

The steps from the hill lead down into Harlem,
through a park, then I cross St. Nicholas,
Eighth Avenue, Seventh, and I come to the Y,
the Harlem Branch Y, where I take the elevator
up to my room ...
In both poems, a common theme is the black...

(The entire section contains 3 answers and 1039 words.)

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