What is the theme or central idea of "The Big Sea"?

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A critical element of "The Big Sea" is the exploration of one's identity.  Hughes uses his own background and upbringing to examine the forces that played a major role in his belief system and his life, and, in the process, explores the powerful notion of what it means to live at the hyphen of being an African- American.  The thematic notion of Hughes' work is that identity is something that is formed through the blending of social, personal, artistic, and psychological demands which pull at individuals.  Through Hughes' own experience, the central idea of the work is the reclamation of voice and roots.  In universalizing the subjective, Hughes proves that African- Americans, as well as any individual who seeks to better understand the dynamic of personal voice, must do so through a complete and intense examination of their past.

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