Upon A Hill: Reflection of Langston Hughes" .
In "Theme for English B," the speaker is a student in an English class. Langston Hughes attaches the speaker's feelings of his place in society with three different views: the speaker in the class, the college, and where the speaker lives. The speaker is the only black in his class, which sets him apart from the other students and the instructor of the class because they are white. The college is set apart from the Harlem, and is in its own territory because it is up on a hill. Furthermore the speaker lives in the Y in Harlem. By choosing these views, Langston Hughes establishes a pattern of white over black that have transcended to today.
The speaker does not regard himself like the other students because there is no mention of the other students in the class. The speaker is the only black man in a class of all white students and a white instructor that stands in front of the classroom: "I am the only colored speaker in my class,"(10). The symbolism of "Theme for English B" is the paper the speaker has to write. The speaker is disturbed by what is to be written in this paper: "It's not easy to know what is true for you or me," (16). The speaker does not want to offend anyone but wants to be seen as the same. The paper is supposed to depict the speaker, but the speaker is unsure of what to write for he is black and the instructor is white. The hierarchy of the class says that the instructor is more important and stands above the students. However the speaker feels that he is the same as the instructor regardless of what his nationality is: "you are white, yet a part of me, as I am part of you. / That's American" (32-33). This means that even though the speaker is black and the instructor is white; they are the same in the aspect of being an American. Further more the speaker is attending a college that sits up high away from everything and everyone.