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A Poem By Langston Hughes

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Memorable Assignments

There has always been times that a professor or teacher would assign a paper to write or maybe even a question that's quite debatable. A professor assigning a paper to free write but I wouldn't even know what to write about because knowing the professor may either take it offensive or think its not necessary, Or being asked a question that is beyond my thoughts and answering it because it seems to be the right thing to do. When reading the poem by Langston Hughes, Theme for English B, at first it appears to have a pessimistic approach but as it continues it really turns out to have a more optimistic approach. As for the poem by Linda Pastan, Ethics, and her words started off as being optimistic but had a closer connection, however to thinking more positively to the question posed to her. While as the poem m goes on it seems to be more of a pessimistic approach.

Hughes words were a bit moving, it make a reader think that the poem might have been the assignment that his professor assigned him. Well if that was the case then He sure did let that page come out of him. Reading this poem, you can see where Hughes might feel a lack of acceptance in his situation, being the only colored student in his class. He knows being colored and living at that time, there was an obvious contrast within the blacks and whites; he had less freedom the other students in the class. I felt as though him not being having the freedom as the others is why his poem has a bit of a pessimistic approach because unlike the rest of the students, Hughes has to be careful on his view, thinking and what he writes because knowing that the professor is white; it may affect the relationship between them to. I chose a small part of Hughes words that seems to be pessimistic is:

So will my page be colored that I write?

Being me, it will not be white. (27-28)

This is one of the parts in the poem that sounded a bit negative. I'm still not sure to whom the question is referring to, Hughes or the professor. Then he answers, being who he is, of course the paper will be written the way he wants it to be and say what he has to say and that it will not be a paper the he has to hold back on what must be said.

As I mentioned in the beginning how the poem being pessimistic at first, well as Hughes writes the poems seems to be more optimistic then I thought because the words made it sound so true. Hughes words were:

You are white-

Yet a part of me, as I am part of you.

That's American. (31-33)

As I learn from you,

I guess you learn form me- (37-38)

What he meant by this is that him and the professor being in American, that they are a part of each other and that's the American way. The second part to that is that they both learn from each other either way, black or white. What I didn't get at first is the "I guess" in line 38. I thought of it being negative in a way but I realized reading on and knowing that the professor is older that the student, there maybe be things that the professor may learn from a student.

When I read the poem by Pastan it was quite interesting because I have been asked a similar question like the one her teacher asked her:

if there were a fire in a museum

which would you save, a Rembrandt painting

or an old woman who hadn't many

years left anyhow? (3-6)

Of course being a child and choosing between an old woman and a painting, the child would pick the old woman. I too would chose the old woman in my opinion because I think that a life is more precious then a painting even though the woman was about to die. I wouldn't want to have the guilt of leaving that old woman behind as I grabbed the Rembrandt. Then as I read on, I came upon the words



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