Self-Identity In Langston Hughes Theme For English B

Words: 487
Pages: 2

At the time of publication of this poem in 1949, Langston Hughes was already a well-respected writer and major voice of his time. He grew up in a world where black people were subjected to constant discrimination. However, instead of giving up and becoming ridden with frustration, Hughes joined and helped to lead the Harlem Renaissance which in turn helped to spur the Civil Rights movement. So, in writing this poem from the point of view of a young black student he connects the individual’s struggle with that of an entire race. By so creatively highlighting the larger issue of discrimination and the question of self-identity we can deduce that this was Hughes’ main goal.
In reading “Theme for English B”, it is clear to see that the major argument
…show more content…
The speaker says “It’s not easy to know what is true for you or me at twenty-two, my age” (16). On his page, the speaker, who is also the speaker, begins by expressing his belief that it is hard to know what is true at such a young age. He identifies with Harlem, claiming to hear Harlem, and in fact, all of New York. Even though he feels like an anomaly at school, he fits in within Harlem, which is where he is most content. He lists some of the everyday but meaningful things he likes to do such as, “eat, sleep…understand life”, and points out that (21) being "colored" doesn’t exempt him from liking the same things that white people like. However, the argument is warranted mainly because the student knows that his outlook, his truth, his reality is not the same as his white instructor's. On the other hand, he observes that he and his instructor are linked, whether they like it or not, through writing and the fact that they are both Americans. He recognizes that they can both learn from each other even though the instructor has the superficial advantages of being “older- and white- and somewhat more free. (40)” In my response to the text, I would say that the author’s argument was a strong one and creatively supported