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In my mind, I think that a dominant theme in both works is the idea of exploring how the individual experience is one that needs to be revered in all of its different forms. Hughes' poem is quite open about this. His experience is different from his White counterparts. This is something from which Hughes does not run, but rather openly states. In this light, Erdrich's work does much of the same. Her separated vignettes help to explore what it means to be Native American. Both works do not seek to make broad and totalizing statements about each cultural condition. Yet, both do seek to bring clearly the fact that what it means to be Native American and African- American brings with it different components of reality and the construction of one's identity is vastly different than the cultural norm. This theme is a resounding one in both and one worthy of further exploration.
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