Student Essay

1385 WordsFeb 24, 20126 Pages
Unification of Races: The Collective We Today, we live in an era where the majority of people receive equal opportunities as well as being treated with dignity and equality, regardless of their sex, race, ethnicity, beliefs, and/or sexual orientation. Although this modern society has seen a growth in civil rights, the 1950’s were a period in this country where discrimination was escalating out of control. Minorities often encountered discriminating and bigotry hostility because of their differing beliefs from the majority, or simply because their skin was of different color. Langston Hughes’ poem “Theme for English B” explores the problematic relationship between Whites and Blacks. The student speaker of the poem addresses the audience in a serious and honest tone through his general English diction that conveys the persona of an African American student’s pursuit of understanding his complex identity and the relationship between Whites and Blacks during a troubling era. Langston Hughes’s poem “Theme for English B” begins with an African American student recollecting the instructions his white instructor gave him for an upcoming writing assignment. Hughes immediately creates and establishes a persona in the poem as an African American college student, as he describes, “I am twenty-two, colored” (7). The poet further illustrates the setting of the poem, as his persona is “the only colored student in [the] class” (10). Consequently, Hughes establishes early on in the poem the persona of his speaker, as well as illustrating the racial tensions the persona experiences and looks to resolve as the poem progresses. It becomes evident that the assignment given by a white instructor to the black persona poses a confusion of identity in the poet’s persona, and thus the entirety of this poem examines through the persona not only the struggle for egalitarianism, but also

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