Langston Hughes: Analysis Of Theme For English B

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Analysis of “Theme For English B”

A defining aspect of “Theme For English B” is that it does not follow a set meter or rhyme, that is to say it is written in a free verse. The poet who wrote this poem Langston Hughes was an early pioneer of jazz poetry a style which sought to give a rhythm akin to jazz or the feel of an improvised poem. “the speakers lyric response transcends the iambic beat that would contain it” (Morris, Daniel 26). As suggested by this quote Hughes writes in a stream of consciousness following no set pattern and instead opts to write in a style similar to an internal monologue or a hypothetical conversation with his tutor. Hughes does include rhymes, half rhymes and patterns within the poem such as “go home and write a
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“Theme For English B” is split into four main parts, in the beginning the instructor for his class gives what appears to be a simple assignment to “Go home and write a page tonight”(Ferguson, Margaret W et al. 1434). This first stanza features the most structure in the poem most likely as it is spoken in the voice of his white instructor. The second stanza follows the student on his way home and through his thought process. “I wonder if it 's that simple”, in this stanza the student questions whether his instructor understands the volume of the task imposed that to “Go home” may not be simple for…show more content…
In conclusion this is a poem with a singular purpose to demonstrate that white people and coloured people are virtually the same and that the main remaining differences are that of economic privilege that though he is as smart as his classmates a simple task such as going home is a long trek to different side of the city. To achieve this effect Hughes includes some subtle changes to the irregularity of the poem in both instances where his instructor is directly involved at the beginning and end of the poem respectively there is rhyme present “somewhat more free this is my page for english B”. This is what ordinary poetry features rhyme and structure, however by writing the bulk of his poem in free flowing verse Hughes manages to convey the message that a coloured man such as himself can make poetry but he does not have to play by the rules of a white man. Some may even go so far as to suggest that the free verse of the poem suggests the freedom of coloured people from slavery and to do as they wish. Such freedoms allowed the men and women such as Langston Hughes to live their lives as they saw fit and even to venture into areas which previously were so white dominated, this perhaps is the true meaning of the poem the simple struggle of a young coloured man to achieve what is now his right, the right to do whatever he
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