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James
Langston Hughes was born in 1902. Still now of all time he is one of the
greatest African American poets. His mother was divorced by his father at his
young age and after that Langston moved to Mexico. He first attended Columbia
University but later dropped out to go to Lincoln University which is known as
an all-black university in Pennsylvania. “Theme for English B” is without a
doubt an anthologized poem written in free verse by Langston Hughes
in 1951 with a simple and casual language. Thematically, “Theme for
English B” resembles “American Heartbreak” and “Let America Be America
Again”.  Compare to Hughes’s some of the
other writings on the almost same subject “Theme for English B” is thus much more
optimistic.

Critic
Tanfer Emin Tunc writes that there are “other aspects of the speaker’s life
that can only be inferred.” Through this poem the poet tried to show that
there are multiple types of Americans (oppressed, white, old,
young, black). And all of them are striving for American dream. And that poem
is in some way optimistic compare to the other writings of the poet on the same
subject.  

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The
instructor in poem “Theme for English B” asks the student to go home and write
a page with some requirement. And the requirement was that the page must come
out of the student and be true. Then the student started wondering that if it
is that simple. So he begins by writing that he is the only colored student in
the class and he is twenty-two years old. Before arriving at the Harlem the
student crossed the street and walked down a hill. After that he took the
elevator to his room where he was going to write his page.  

According
to the student it is hard to know what is true at his young age. But on the
other 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 likes
everything the way others like. He likes Christmas presents like the way others
like. Just because he is colored doesn’t mean he doesn’t like the same things
that people of other races like. Even he started wondering that his page will
be colored just because he is not white and he is writing the page.

For
me, I can relate this poem to myself in some aspects. Even for some young
students came from other race can relate the poem to their real life. It can
sometimes be very hard to find the ways to go ahead with life. To be honest I saw
some people who think brown people doesn’t know how to talk in English. After
coming in this country I saw peoples from lots of different races. And just
because they are not white doesn’t mean they doesn’t have right to live their
life like the way white people does.  In some
way it is not very hard to find similarities like the student in the poem: “I
like to work, read, learn, and understand life”. And also according to the
student we can learn from each other “As I learn from you, / I guess you learn
from me”.

“That’s
American.”- According to the student his instructor and he is part of one
another. Sometimes the student might not want to be a part of the instructor
and sometimes his instructor might not want to be a part of him but still they
are part of each others. “somewhat more free.”- Even though the
instructor is white, older they learn from each other.

He concludes, “This is my page for
English B.”

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