Theme for English B- Langston Hughes

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While writing a paper for his English class, Langston Hughes, the only African American in the class, explores equality in a stream of conscious, three paragraph poem. In “Theme for English B,” Hughes expresses that all races influence each other and should be treated and considered equal as Americans. Hughes discusses the similarities between the different races in America and writes his paper questioning if “its that simple” to overcome segregation issues. After telling of his African American background, Hughes tells of his interests and hobbies. He likes simple and universal things such as eating, sleeping, drinking, working, reading, and learning. Hughes shares his interests to show that his likes are not weird or different from a typical White's interests. Hughes shows the similarities because he believes that if two men appear to be the same, they should be equal no matter the color of their skin. If both a Black and White man like to learn, they should equate each other and be able to obtain the same schooling, according to Hughes. Hughes also mentions he likes to “understand life.” His paper discusses life and his understanding of Americans as a race in itself, without a color determining how “American” a person is. His want to understand life shows Hughes' urge to think deeper than the superficial meaning of things. However, in reality, Blacks and Whites did not have the same social status, hence Hughes' question “I wonder if its that simple” to achieve equality. Hughes continues on and alludes to his music selection to show his credibility on the subject of segregation. He listens to “Bessie, bop, or Bach.” Hughes listening to Bessie Smith, a Blues singer, shows Hughes' African taste in music while Bach, a German composer, shows Hughes' well cultured side. Hughes not only likes typical music stereotyped with his race, but music that would be considered “White” or “higher class” music. Hughes' interest in Bach conveys that Hughes is educated and making...
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