Poetic Form in Hughes' Theme for English B Essay

Poetic Form in Hughes' Theme for English B Essay

Length: 2054 words (5.9 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Powerful Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview


Since the beginning of our country's history, people of African descent have continuously undergone persecution by those of European descent. Although the state of racial affairs in the 1990's is an enormous improvement from the days of slavery, racial tension still exists. In the twentieth century, no time surpasses the 1950's and 1960's in relation to racial injustice and violence. In every facet of American life, prejudice and racial inequality exude during these tumultuous twenty years. Langston Hughes, an African-American writer, exposes the divisions between Caucasians and African Americans in the social construct of the educational system during this chaotic time period. In Hughes' poem, "Theme for English B," he discusses racism through the stage of a university in America, using narrative and poetic devices to express the feelings and emotions involved in the struggle for equality.

The poem's structure divides into three main stanzas with a one-line form at the end. Written in free verse, the poem is unencumbered from restrictions regarding its structure and rhyme scheme. The use of free verse adds to the poem's stream-of-consciousness flow. The rhythm found in the poem is a random mix of beats and stressed and unstressed syllables. Reading the poem aloud, the rhythm resonates like a jazz song. In addition to the three main stanzas, seven major sections appear as the writing progresses. The social situation of the 1950's is the basis for the poem. The antecedent scenario suggests a newly segregated university and an African-American student attempting to break racial barriers. The speaker of the poem feels uncomfortable in his class of all Caucasian students. Isolated in class, he is overwhelmingly reminded of his d...


... middle of paper ...


... the new kid, the only kid with glasses, or of a different religion or culture. Through his use of structure, the audience feels all of the emotions the writer. As the writer goes through his day and starts to write, the audience understands his trials and tribulations with the help of stanza forms and content. The shape of the poem and the form used follows his life through the confines of the paper, makes his way throught the trials and tribulations of African-American life in the 1950's.

Works Cited

Scaife, Ross. "A Glossary of Rhetorical Terms with Examples." URL: http://www.uky.edu/ArtsSciences/Classics/rhetoric.html.

Turco, Lewis. The New Book of Forms: A Handbook of Poetics. Hanover: University Press of New England; 1986.

Vendler, Helen. Poems, Poets, Poetry: An Introduction and Anthology. Boston: Bedford Books of St. Martin's Press; 1997.

 

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Compare and contrast the views of Autumn in Ted Hughes’s There Came A Essay

- Compare and contrast the views of Autumn in Ted Hughes’s There Came A Day and John Keats’s Ode To Autumn. How do the poets use language to convey these views. There are many similarities and differences between the two autumn poems ‘There came a day’ by Ted Hughes and ‘Ode to autumn’ by John Keats. Both poems are based on autumn but they portray it in different ways. ‘There came a day’ presents autumn in a negative way where as ‘ode to autumn’ presents it in a positive way. The reason that John Keats may have written in a in a positive way about autumn is because he was a pre-twentieth century poet and had a love for nature and respect for the countryside....   [tags: English Literature]

Powerful Essays
1600 words (4.6 pages)

Arguing for Authenticity: A Comparison and Contrast of Two American Modern Poets, Robert Frost and Langston Hughes

- “[F]uture commentators on American poetry and political issues will not be able to ignore the … authentic voice of the region,” argues Barry Ahearn, author of the article Poetry: 1900 to the 1940s, which discusses the importance of the author writing about his or her region of choice in their poetry and how it affects their writing (Ahearn 373). Ahearn discusses writers such as Sterling A. Brown, Langston Hughes, H.D. (Hilda Doolittle), Robert Frost, Robinson Jeffers, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Lorine Niedecker, George Oppen, John Crowe Ransom, Charles Rezikoff, Muriel Rukeyser, Gertrude Stine, Wallace Stevens, Sara Teasdale, William Carlos Williams, and Louis Zukofksy....   [tags: Poetry Analysis ]

Powerful Essays
2178 words (6.2 pages)

The Poetic Devices of Langston Hughes Essay

- The great advantage of poetry is that with the right choice of words, it can capture a whole scene in just one line of a stanza. It has the ability to offer hope from a painful experience and is something that a person can identify with; almost as if the poet and the reader become one. In his two poems, “Mother to Son” and “Harlem”, Langston Hughes, shines light on the life and struggles of African-Americans (“The Poetry”). While the theme of both poems is centered on perseverance, Hughes skillfully uses figurative language, tone, and form and structure differently in each poem to depict the same message....   [tags: Literary Analysis]

Powerful Essays
1396 words (4 pages)

Essay on Analysis Of `` Harlem `` By Langston Hughes

- Langston Hughes, a remarkable and talented social activist, poet, and writer, displays the realistic internal struggles of African Americans through his writing. Hughes wrote during an era where social inequality weighed heavily on the American nation. Hughes was able to display the internal conflicts of frustrated African Americans, in regards to their goals and dreams, in his poem, “Harlem”. Utilizing poetic devices, Hughes is able to successfully display the emotional conflicts of the frustrations that African Americans faced in regards to their goals and dreams during the 1950’s....   [tags: Langston Hughes, African American]

Powerful Essays
994 words (2.8 pages)

Essay about Theme For English B By Langston Hughes

- Langston Hughes’ “Theme for English B” is a rhetorical poem in which Hughes asks the question about his social and racial status in society. Growing up through the First World War and took part in the Civil Rights Era, Hughes experienced racial tensions while going to school at Columbia University in a time when higher education was still for the affluent and dominantly white. His poem is a reflection of his reaction from a teachers’ writing prompt which influenced him to write on his racial and social tensions which is enhanced by his structure, rhetorical questions, and his use of first person....   [tags: African American, Racism, Racial segregation]

Powerful Essays
1109 words (3.2 pages)

A Poetic Approach to Racial Equality Essay

- "I, Too Sing America" is one of many poems written by Langston Hughes that focuses on African American culture. Written in the 20th century, America was moving toward the climax of the civil rights movement. "I, Too Sing America" responds to "I Hear America Singing" by Walt Whitman. Langston Hughes became famous during the Harlem Renaissance because of his many poems written about African American lifestyle. This particular poem looks into what many black people hoped their future would look like....   [tags: Langston Hughes, I, Too Sing America]

Powerful Essays
785 words (2.2 pages)

Walt Whitman: Poetic Realist Essay

- Walt Whitman – Poetic Realist Walt Whitman, one of the great American poets of the 19th and 20th centuries, was inspired to further his passion and talent for writing by what some would refer to as a call to action, by the writer Ralph Waldo Emerson. Emerson, known in his time as an “American Transcendentalist” writer, called poets of the mid 1800s into action with his essay entitled: “The Poet.” The fact that Walt Whitman, considered a realist poet, was inspired in part by this transcendentalist perfectly illustrates the constant progression of literary styles of that time....   [tags: transcendentalism, poetic analysis]

Powerful Essays
1300 words (3.7 pages)

Man’yōshū and Kokinshū Hallmark of The Japanese Poetic Form Essay

- The Man'yōshū can be interpreted as either “Collection of Ten Thousand Leaves” or “Collection for Ten Thousand Generations” was the first anthology of poetry written by Japanese poets. Its significance is captured by the dramatic title, as it has indeed endured for countless generations and influenced the whole of Japanese verse through history. Though the collection includes poems from the lower classes as well as “primitive” songs from centuries before, the contents of the twenty volumes are mostly courtly verses from the upper echelons of Japanese society (Brower 89)....   [tags: anthology, japan, japanese history]

Powerful Essays
973 words (2.8 pages)

Langston Hughes's poem Theme for English B Essay

- Langston Hughes's poem Theme for English B is a complicated piece, which is able to stimulate the mind of any person that gives it a chance. Langston Hughes's poem Theme for English B is a complicated piece, which is able to stimulate the mind of any person that gives it a chance. This poem touches on the ever present topics of racism, commonality and differences, with insights on how people are so frequent to prejudge others without even knowing their name. Racism is still present today, even most who would not consider themselves raciest have used some sort of raciest remark or gesture....   [tags: English Literature]

Free Essays
430 words (1.2 pages)

Essay Langston Hughes

- Langston Hughes      People always listen to music, watch movies or plays, and even read poetry without once even thinking what is could be that helps and artist eventually create a masterpiece. Often times, it is assumed that artists just have a “gift”, and people just do not consider the circumstances and situations that gradually mold a dormant idea into a polished reality. This seems to be the case with nearly every famous actor, writer, painter, or musician; including the ever-famous Langston Hughes....   [tags: Hughes Biography Bio Poet Biographies Essays]

Powerful Essays
1461 words (4.2 pages)