Comparing Theme For English B And I Too By Langston Hughes

Decent Essays
Long before the civil rights movement, African Americans had no rights as an American citizen. Even after desegregation, African Americans were not given the same respect and value as a white American. During the Harlem Renaissance, however, many African American writers and poets began to challenge these viewpoints in their writings. In particular, Langston Hughes used his short stories, plays and poetry to portray the experiences of black life in America. He was heavily influenced by Walt Whitman and the ideas of free verse and was able to represent the feelings of African Americans after the abolition of slavery. In two of his poems, Theme for English B and I Too, Langston Hughes was able to depict the idea that African Americans are no different, but are American just like anyone else. He wanted to show the importance of melding cultures…show more content…
The metaphor in line 3, “They send me to eat in the kitchen When company comes,” expresses the oppression that African Americans still face (Hughes). However, as the poem progresses, a sense of hope appears. Found in line 15, “Besides, They’ll see how beautiful I am And be ashamed---” the true value of African Americans will soon enough prevail (Hughes). In “I Too”, the narrator’s use of personal pronouns symbolizes the entirety of African Americans and how the oppression denotes isolation.
Although both poems use first person pronouns and symbolize the oppression of African Americans, they both do so in different ways. In Theme for English B, the story being told focuses on the fact that there is one American identity rather than simply white or black identities. Whereas, in I Too, the narrator chooses to focus on the hope that one day the value of African Americans will be recognized. The theme, form, tone, and language remains true for both poems because they are both written by the same author but in both instances, they can be interpreted into meaning two different
Get Access