JamesLangston Hughes was born in 1902. Still now of all time he is one of thegreatest African American poets. His mother was divorced by his father at hisyoung age and after that Langston moved to Mexico.
He first attended ColumbiaUniversity but later dropped out to go to Lincoln University which is known asan all-black university in Pennsylvania. “Theme for English B” is without adoubt an anthologized poem written in free verse by Langston Hughesin 1951 with a simple and casual language. Thematically, “Theme forEnglish B” resembles “American Heartbreak” and “Let America Be AmericaAgain”. Compare to Hughes’s some of theother writings on the almost same subject “Theme for English B” is thus much moreoptimistic.
CriticTanfer Emin Tunc writes that there are “other aspects of the speaker’s lifethat can only be inferred.” Through this poem the poet tried to asserts thatthere are multiple types of Americans (oppressed, white, young, old, black). Andall of them can strive for American dream. And that poem is in some wayoptimistic compare to the other writings of the poet on the same subject.
Theinstructor in poem “Theme for English B” asks the student to go home and writea page with some requirement. And the requirement was that the page must comeout of the student and be true. Then the student started wondering that if itis that simple.
So he begins by writing that he is the only colored student inthe class and he is twenty-two years old. Before arriving at the Harlem thestudent crossed the street and walked down a hill. After that he took theelevator to his room where he was going to write his page. Accordingto the student it is hard to know what is true at his young age. But on theother hand for him whatever he hears, feels or sees in Harlem is true –”hear you, hear me – we two – you, me, talk on this page”. He likeseverything the way others like. He likes Christmas presents like the way otherslike.
Just because he is colored doesn’t mean he doesn’t like the same thingsthat people of other races like. Even he started wondering that his page willbe colored just because he is not white and he is writing the page. Forme, I can relate this poem to myself in some aspects. Even for some youngstudents came from other race can relate the poem to their real life.
It cansometimes be very hard to find the ways to go ahead with life. To be honest I sawsome people who think brown people doesn’t know how to talk in English. Aftercoming in this country I saw peoples from lots of different races. And justbecause they are not white doesn’t mean they doesn’t have right to live theirlife like the way white people does. In someway it is not very hard to find similarities like the student in the poem: “Ilike to work, read, learn, and understand life”. And also according to thestudent we can learn from each other “As I learn from you, / I guess you learnfrom me”.”That’sAmerican.
“- According to the student his instructor and he is part of oneanother. Sometimes the student might not want to be a part of the instructorand sometimes his instructor might not want to be a part of him but still theyare part of each others. “somewhat more free.”- Even though theinstructor is white, older they learn from each other.He concludes, “This is my page forEnglish B.”