In the poem "Ballad of the Landlord" by Langston Hughes, how much money does the tenant propose to pay the landlord? Ten Bucks you say I owe you?Ten Bucks you say is due?Well, that's Ten Bucks more'n I'l pay youTill you fix this house up new. I would like the answer with respect to these lines. This is because, some teachers at the college I teach say the tenant owes the landlord 10, 20, and 30 dollars. So far, only one teacher says that the tenant does not propose to pay the monthly rent of 10 dollars to the landlord till the latter repairs the roof and the steps.

Expert Answers

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The speaker isn't going to pay the landlord one cent until repairs are made to his dilapidated house. When he says, "Ten Bucks you say I owe you?/ Ten Bucks you say is due?" he means that his rent is ten dollars. But he's not going to pay it: "Well, that's Ten Buck more'n I'll pay you/ Till you fix this house up new." He'd rather face eviction than pay to live in a rat hole.

See the eNotes study guide (linked below) for a full analysis of the poem. As for your second question, that should be asked on the discussion board because you are asking for an opinion. Personally, I don't see any reason not to teach the poem in an ESL class unless the teacher was using it to make a statement about a certain group of people.

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