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Theme for English B Summary & Analysis
by Langston Hughes

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“Theme for English B” was published the American poet Langston Hughes in 1951, toward the end of Hughes’s career. The poem is a dramatic monologue written in the voice of a twenty-two-year-old black college student at Columbia University in New York City. His professor gives an apparently simple assignment: to write one page that is “true” to himself. But for the speaker, this assignment raises complicated questions about race, identity, and belonging. As he puzzles through these difficult questions, the speaker arrives at a powerful argument against American racism: white people and black people are not (and should not be) separate or distinct. Instead, they are “part” of each other.

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