I have to give an explanation of the theme and structure in Theme for English B, expanding it to the tone,so I'm confused.Can anybody help me analyzing?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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This is probably one of Hughes' most powerful works.  The structure of it is four stanza-ed poem.  The first stanza consists of an instructor's words, while the last one is a line consisting of the speaker's.  The middle two are the speaker's own internal analysis of the subjective and external conditions experienced.  There are some rhymes, but I don't see these are overall the most important elements.  The theme of the poem explains the need and understanding for cultural studies.  Essentially, if one is to take the speaker as Hughes' himself, the setting is as a college student when the instructor gives an assignment to write about one's experience.  For an African- American student in a setting that is dominated by the cultural majority, this means an entirely different reality.  When the speaker first receives the assignment, the immediate condition of  being "the only colored student in my class" comes into play.  At this point, we, as the reader, begin to understand that realities for those who are not representative of the cultural majority are different.  The theme of this poem is the exploration of this condition of "difference" and one where one's reality is uniquely and distinctive divergent from others.  In a larger sense, the poem allows the reader to understand that when we speak of "truth," we have to be willing to understand the many different conditions and experiences that accompany it.

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