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The renowned African American poet Langston Hughes has and still does amaze the world with his powerfully written works of literature. In his work “Theme for English B” he holds three important literary keys, theme, narrative, and imagery. With these three keys his work is beautifully put together.

Hughes theme for “Theme for English B” is that through the interaction of people they are learning but also teaching, giving but also receiving. Hughes best states this in line thirty-seven to thirty-eight, “As I learn from you / I guess you learn from me.” Through this interaction people have become apart of everyone else which is directly stated on line thirty-two “yet a part of me, as I am a part of you (Hughes).” Even though at times people would not like to admit that a part of everyone is in them they must come to the full realization that it is true like the narrator in theme of “Theme for English B” has.

Narration is a way Hughes expresses himself in this poem. He uses a didactic narrative to instruct us on being a model American. We all might be different in some aspects but yet the same in others. All of us “ like to eat, sleep, drink and, be in love (Hughes 1).” If one, racist or non-biased, were to read this poem and not know of the narrator’s race he would relate it to his own race, which are how all Americans should think.

Imagery is probably the most used literary term in “Theme for English B”. Hughes uses implied metaphor to suggest an analogy between America and his relationship with his English instructor. Lines thirty-three to thirty-eight is where the metaphor is located, stating

Custom Essays on Langston Hughes

That’s American

Sometimes perhaps you don’t want to be a part of me.

But we are, that’s true!

As I learn from you,

I guess you learn from me- (Hughes)

In addition to implied metaphor, personification and apostrophe can be found in this poem. Personification or giving human qualities to inanimate objects can be found twice in the poem. The first example is “ let and let that page come out of you- (Hughes 4)”. This is personification because a page can’t literary come out of you. The true meaning behind this line is that what ever comes out of your mouth or onto page is whom you are inside. His second example is found in line eighteen through twenty, stating “ I feel and see and hear, Harlem, I hear you / hear you, hear me - we two - you, me, talk on this page. / ( I hear New York too.) Me - Who (Hughes)?” Though the narrator has called out to Harlem, Harlem so to speak, cannot call back. Harlem, which is his environment, is a major part of who he is. The influences of his surrounding help form his whole being. The way he refers to Harlem is also an apostrophe, meaning he is directly addressing some abstract object. Calling out to Harlem and New York is calling out to abstract objects because the cities cannot call back to them.

The three literary keys Hughes Langston uses in this poem are theme, narrative and imagery. It explains to us what it is to be him, what it is be us and how those boundaries become blurred and make us unison. With the completion of these three literary terms a powerful poem has come about.

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