Langston Hughes' poem "English B" is a thought-provoking reflection on the complexities of race and identity in America. In this poem, Hughes, who was an African American writer and social activist during the Harlem Renaissance, grapples with the tension between his own cultural heritage and the dominant white culture that surrounds him.
The poem begins with the speaker, who is Hughes himself, saying that he is "the only colored student in my class." This immediately sets up a sense of isolation and difference, as the speaker is the only person of color among his peers. However, rather than simply lamenting this fact, Hughes uses it as an opportunity to explore the ways in which he and his classmates are both similar and different.
For example, Hughes notes that while he and his classmates may come from different cultural backgrounds, they all share a common language: English. This language, Hughes suggests, is a "common ground" that allows them to communicate and understand one another. However, he also recognizes that there are certain cultural experiences and references that he and his classmates may not fully understand or appreciate due to their different backgrounds.
Despite these differences, Hughes ultimately concludes that he and his classmates are all "just two young people" trying to "find a way to do our thing." This line suggests that, at the end of the day, all of Hughes' classmates are simply individuals trying to navigate their own lives and make their way in the world.
In many ways, "English B" speaks to the universal human experience of trying to find one's place in the world and to make sense of one's own identity. By highlighting the shared language and experiences of his classmates, Hughes suggests that, despite our differences, we are all more similar than we might initially realize. At the same time, he also acknowledges the complexities of race and cultural identity, and the challenges that come with trying to bridge the gap between different cultures and experiences.
Overall, "English B" is a powerful and thought-provoking poem that challenges readers to think about the ways in which we define ourselves and others, and to consider the ways in which our cultural experiences shape our perceptions of the world around us.
Langston Hughes' poem "English B" is a powerful and thought-provoking meditation on race and identity in America. The poem is written from the perspective of a young, African American student who is required to write an essay for his English class. The student reflects on the ways in which he is different from his white classmates, and the ways in which he is the same.
At the beginning of the poem, the student notes that he is the only "Negro" in his class, and that he is "the only colored student in his class." This immediately sets him apart from his classmates, and highlights the racial divide that still exists in America. Despite this difference, however, the student also notes that he shares many things in common with his classmates. He wears the same clothes, eats the same food, and speaks the same language. In this way, the student suggests that despite the superficial differences between races, there are many deeper, fundamental ways in which all human beings are the same.
As the poem progresses, the student reflects on the ways in which he has been shaped by his race and his cultural background. He notes that he has "been in the back of the bus," and that he has "been hurt by the English tongue." These experiences have undoubtedly had a profound impact on the student, and have shaped his worldview and his understanding of the world around him.
Despite these challenges, however, the student remains hopeful and optimistic. He notes that he has "a long way to go," but that he is "the pilot of [his] soul." This suggests that the student sees himself as being in control of his own destiny, and that he is determined to overcome the obstacles that stand in his way.
In conclusion, Langston Hughes' "English B" is a thought-provoking and poignant meditation on race and identity in America. Through the voice of a young, African American student, Hughes highlights the ways in which race can shape an individual's experiences and perspectives, while also suggesting that there are many deeper, universal ways in which all human beings are the same.
"English B" is a poem written by Langston Hughes, a prominent figure in the Harlem Renaissance. The poem reflects on the experience of a young African American student who is asked to write an essay for his English class on the topic of "Who am I?"
In the opening lines of the poem, the student describes himself as "the only colored student in class." This immediately establishes a theme of race and identity, as the student is the only one who is different from his peers due to his skin color. This difference is further emphasized as the student describes his "dark hands" and "nappy hair," physical features that are often associated with African Americans.
As the poem progresses, the student reflects on his background and how it has shaped his identity. He notes that his "father's people" were "brought from Africa" and that his "mother's people" were "born in Georgia." These lines suggest that the student's ancestry is a mix of African and American, and this dual heritage has played a significant role in his sense of self.
Despite the challenges he faces as a person of color in a predominantly white society, the student asserts his identity and dignity. He declares, "I am the darker brother. They send me to eat in the kitchen / When company comes, but I laugh, / And eat well, and grow strong." These lines show that the student refuses to be marginalized or treated as inferior due to his race. Instead, he embraces his identity and works to overcome the obstacles that come his way.
In the final lines of the poem, the student reflects on the universal nature of his experience as a person of color. He writes, "Tomorrow, / I'll be at home, / Behind the glass of a window, / Looking at the rain." These lines suggest that the student's experience of feeling different and marginalized is one that is shared by many people of color around the world. Despite the challenges they face, they continue to find ways to thrive and to assert their identity.
Overall, "English B" is a powerful and thought-provoking poem that explores themes of race, identity, and belonging. It invites readers to consider the experiences of people of color and to reflect on the ways in which society treats those who are different.