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Poem Analysis - Theme For English B

            In Langston Hughes, "Theme For English B," I intend to argue that the character throughout the poem is trying to find identity and purpose, and this is done through symbolism, imagery, and diction. The poem begins with the instructor giving the class the assignment of writing a paper and asking that what they write comes from within them and only then it'll be truethis is immediately followed by the characters line, "I wonder if its that simple?" The character has doubts of what is asked of him, feeling what his, "truth," is will not be accepted, having grown a man with different background. "I am twenty-two, colored, born in Winston-Salem. I went to school there, then Durham, then here to this college on the hill above Harlem," (3). In this line we see our character telling the reader of his journey, moving from Historically poor Winston-Salem, to Durham where he attended school, which is an area of fine schools, already showing the reader his journey has been moving up the latter fighting for opportunity, in a time and place that dreams for black men were held down and neglected. Finally finding himself, "here," at a college located on a hill above harlem. This hill above harlem symbolizes a higher class and higher living that the character had finally reached with the white men but still being the only black student in his classes, feels lost and out of place although having earned where he is, his journey there also separates him having had gone through a tougher path then what is created for a white student as shown through the black/white ratio. "The steps from the hill lead down into Harlem through a park, then I cross St. Nicholas, Eighth Avenue, Seventh, and I come to the Y, the Harlem Branch Y, where I take the elevator up to my room, sit down, and write this page," (3). This simply creates the image of a man going through a routine and daily life picturing the signposts in the streets as he does everyday but this time he is challenged with a new task, although on the exterior as most things are it is simple.

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