The theme for English B written by Langston Hughes is a simple poem with deep meaning. The poet Hughes expresses his experience of being colored in America. He says that he is an American like other White Americans but his being colored is somewhat disturbing for him as people do not consider him as an equal. He talks about an assignment given by his instructor in a poetic language where he delivers his views about similarities found between him and the White people around him to indicate that he is just human like them.
The speaker communicates what is inside his mind and is quite true in his expression. The instructor of the speaker of the poem asks him to compose something that is true and comes directly from the heart as he says,
“And let that page come out of you—
Then, it will be true.” (Hughes 5-6)
And Hughes composed the voice of his heart and expressed his sadness for the wrong consideration of his companion Americans. He tells them that he performs all those tasks that are performed by other White Americans. There is no difference in their being human. The only difference is the difference in color. He says that he eats, drinks, sleeps and does everything like other people so who can he be different from other races. The color does not make him unlike those.
The poet is fully aware of his appearance and his position in society. Hughes in the poem acknowledges that he is colored and is the single-colored student in the class when he says,
“I am the only colored student in my class” (Hughes 12).
Hughes says that being colored does not deprive him of his rights to being a human. He is like all the others around him. According to the poet, the instructor and the student are part of each other as both of them learn from each other. The poem highlights human-made differences and criticizes such people for their wrong consideration.
Hughes, Langston. The theme for English B. 1951. Retrieved on June 18, 2011, from http://www.eecs.harvard.edu/~keith/poems/English_B.html