Theme for English B

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Through his poem “Theme for English B”, Langston Hughes expresses his will to exterminate discrimination by proving that despite different skin colors, Americans all share similarities and learn from each other. Langston wrote the poem in 1900, when black Americans were not considered Americans. He talks about a black student being assigned to write a paper about himself. The audience is thus the student’s professor – the representation of the white Americans. Since the professor said: “let that page come out of you---Then, it will be true.”, the student began wondering “if it’s that simple”. He then describes himself to explain why it isn’t simple: he is “twenty-two”, “the only colored in class”, and lives in the poor community Harlem. His college which is “on the hill above Harlem” is the metaphor of the differences in social statuses between his classmates and him. His way to school is so detailed that we can picture it in our mind. The student’s description expresses the author’s ethos: the author fully understands a black’s life, even little details. Moreover, the student says “it is not easy to know what is true for you or me at twenty two, my age.” to shows that he has considered his limited knowledge, yet still claims that he is similar to the teacher.

The author also expresses his logos through the list of similarities between the student and the teacher: the student likes to “eat, sleep, drink and be in love”, “word, read, learn, and understand life”, just like any white man. Next, the student poses a question: “will my page be colored what I write?” Will his page be different from a white’s, and thus is discriminated? The answer is yes, and no. Yes, because he is black, and his lifestyle and points of views are definitely not identical to those of a white man. Thereby, he has to struggle to assimilate to his society yet still keeps his identity . No, because despite those differences, he and the teacher are still parts of each others. They...
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