Essay on American Dream: Limited or equally deserved?

Submitted By rushmi1995
Words: 982
Pages: 4

In American society, the concept of “American dream” greatly parallels to equality and individualism. To this effect, Jilson once said, “The American Dream always has been more open to some than to others: it has been more open to wealthy white men than to women and people of color.” In other words, not every individual in America was given the chance of fully fulfilling their dreams due to racial and gender priorities. The validity of this statement is significantly expressed through the poem Theme for English B by Langston Hughes. In his poem, the author depicts a young African American individual who struggles to express his identity and blend in with his new white community in Harlem because of racial segregation which emphasizes the central idea of how “American Dream” can be and limited to certain crowd of people in society. The poem, The Theme for English B by Langston Hughes is set in Harlem. The speaker of the poem is an African American student who is only twenty two years old and is the only colored student in his class. The poem starts off with a quote given by his instructor asserting that any piece written from the heart will come true. However, once he starts to write about his inner desires, it becomes clear that, the speaker of the poem wants his professor to not judge him by his color by but by his humanity. By the last stanza the speaker states, “I guess being colored doesn’t make me not like the same things other folks like who are other races” (Hughes 25-26) to support his point that, humans shouldn’t be judged by skin color. He also makes a logical argument by questioning “So will my page be colored that I write?” (Hughes 27) which depicts the tone of irony and sarcasm of the speaker. He portrays his struggle of finding his true identity and also how he fits in with the world by demonstrating the mutual hobbies and activities he has with his peers. The speaker strives to show his professor the similarities, likes, and purposes every individual portrays in his class to demonstrate that only because he is colored, he is no different than any other of his peers. The speaker also states, “Sometimes perhaps you don’t want to be a part of me/ Nor do I want to be a part of you/But we are, that’s true! As I learn from you, I guess you learn from me-” (Hughes 34-38). As the speaker repeatedly brings up similarities to demonstrate how he is a part of his English class, he also emphasizes on the equality he deserves and believes he should be treated the same as his classmates and should not be judged by his skin color. The structure of the poem and the frequent use of “I” throughout the poem demonstrate the individualism and the racial differences of the speaker. He continuously uses words such as “you” and “me” to differentiate his ethnicity. However, towards the end, he states, “yet a part of me, as I am a part of you/ That’s American.”(Hughes 32-33), which expresses equality. America is made up of all these different cultures and ethnicities and therefore we all have something to learn from each other. As the speaker concludes his inner desires through his English assignment to his professor, Hughes depicts the speaker’s oppression of racist society. It is clear that the speaker is proud of his culture but also believes that all cultures bring something on the table for everyone to learn. It is also clear that the speaker believes his right to freedom and individualism which depicts the central idea of “American Dream”. According to Jilson, American dream is the “exceptional idea which has to be embodied in the lives of real people, before they have weight and substances.” He believes that, the American Dream comes from the expectations, rules and laws from