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Analysis of Langston Hughes' 'Theme for English B' and 'Mother to Son'

Themes

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1OyRHr2d4Gc

The instructor said, Go home and write a page tonight.

And let that page come out of you— Then, it will be true.

I wonder if it’s that simple?

I am twenty-two, colored, born in Winston-Salem.   

I went to school there, then Durham, then here to this college on the hill above Harlem.   

I am the only colored student in my class.   

The steps from the hill lead down into Harlem, through a park, then I cross St. Nicholas,  Eighth Avenue, Seventh, and I come to the Y, the Harlem Branch Y, where I take the elevator up to my room, sit down, and write this page:

It’s not easy to know what is true for you or me at twenty-two, my age. But I guess I’m what 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? Well, I like to eat, sleep, drink, and be in love.   

I like to work, read, learn, and understand life.   

I like a pipe for a Christmas present, or records—Bessie, bop, or Bach.

I guess being colored doesn’t make me not like the same things other folks like who are other races.   

So will my page be colored that I write?   

Being me, it will not be white.

But it will be a part of you, instructor.

You are white— yet a part of me, as I am a part of you.

That’s American.

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

Nor do I often want to be a part of you.

But we are, that’s true!

As I learn from you, I guess you learn from me—

although you’re older—and white— and somewhat more free.

This is my page for English B.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5L-kKxePGqA

“Mother to Son”

Well, son, I’ll tell you:

Life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.

It’s had tacks in it,

And splinters,

And boards torn up,

And places with no carpet on the floor—

Bare.

But all the time I’se been a-climbin’ on, And reachin’ landin’s, And turnin’ corners, And sometimes goin’ in the dark Where there ain’t been no light.

So boy, don’t you turn back.

Don’t you set down on the steps ’Cause you finds it’s kinder hard.

Don’t you fall now— For I’se still goin’, honey, I’se still climbin’, And life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.

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