Theme for English B Questions and Answers
by Langston Hughes

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Theme For English B Analysis

Explain the poem "Theme for English B" by Langston Hughes. 

The poem "Theme for English B" is a meditation by the speaker on a one-page essay assigned by his professor. The professor says that as long as it comes from themselves, whatever the students write will be true. The speaker, who is black, notes the racial divide between his professor and himself. He struggles with the simplicity of the assignment and questions whether something that is true for him is also true for his white professor or whether truth is inherently distorted by racism.

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In his poem “Theme for English B,” Langston Hughes writes from the perspective of an African American college student responding to an assignment. The poem presents a situation both universal and specific, that of a student wondering how to complete a homework assignment while incorporating details relating to the experiences of black people in mid-century America.

The poem is free verse and begins with an informal and conversational style. The lines flow like ordinary speech, as if the student were speaking directly to the professor instead of writing. After reviewing the assignment, the...

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