Hughes’ Theme for English B

An analysis of the poem Theme for English by American poet Langston Hughes.

The paper introduces Theme for English B by Langston Hughes which examines the issue of a black American living in contemporary American society, wherein black slavery had already been abolished, but the issue remains to be a delicate topic for every American, whether his skin color is black or white. The paper analyzes the poem around this theme. It also examines Hughes’ use of the poetic elements, such as end rhymes, parallelism, imagery, figurative language and symbolism. The paper discusses how, taken in the societal perspective, `Theme for English B` is a poem that illustrates how history affects people’s perspective about black Americans in the contemporary American society. It shows how the history of racial prejudice is instilled in ones mind, blurring the fact that men are all created equal regardless of one’s physical color.
`The last stanza of the poem is the student’s resolve to his dilemma: he now talks of the student (himself) and the instructor’s differences as borne out of individual differences in outlook and perspectives, and not because of racial difference, with the student being black and the instructor white. Symbolism is again used to convey the message that history plays an important role in influencing people’s judgment about other people and even his own self. When the student said that You are white–/ yet a part of me, as I am a part of you, the poem tells his instructor that despite their physical differences (which is racial in nature), both is part of the other’s whole this means that they are both individuals who must rely, interact with each other because this is human nature, and the issue of racial differences here is set aside.`