Essay about Poetic Form in Hughes' Theme for English B

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Since the beginning of our country's history, people of African descent have continuously undergone persecution by those of European descent. Although the state of racial affairs in the 1990's is an enormous improvement from the days of slavery, racial tension still exists. In the twentieth century, no time surpasses the 1950's and 1960's in relation to racial injustice and violence. In every facet of American life, prejudice and racial inequality exude during these tumultuous twenty years. Langston Hughes, an African-American writer, exposes the divisions between Caucasians and African Americans in the social construct of the educational system during this chaotic time period. In Hughes' poem, "Theme for English B," he discusses racism…show more content…
The first section involves the instructor describing an assignment to his students, with the intention of infiltrating the students' private thoughts through writing. The assignment poses an interesting question, unveiling one's innermost perceptions of himself and the world around him. Through the assignment, one not only exposes himself to the world, but also provides a self-examination. The tone of the piece is one of self-realization in an imperfect society. As the instructor speaks in the poem, his words combine to form choppy phrases, emphasizing the importance of the impending writing. The quotation, "Go home and write/a page tonight./And let that page come out of you--/Then, it will be true," is separate to make a distinction between the instructor's words and the main speaker's words (lines 2-5). The four lines broken into couplets give the voice of the instructor a lyrical tone, indicating a superior intellect and scholarly background. The italicizing of the lines spoken by the teacher places more stress on the words describing the assignment. After the quotation, the main speaker asks a rhetorical question to point out the complexity of the assignment, which is the second main concept in the poem. As he ponders, "I wonder if it's that simple," not only does the writer contemplate the complications of the work, but he also wonders if the teacher realizes the importance of the homework (6). The professor might not be aware of the arduous journey this
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