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Engage your classes in discussions on race, identity, and writing while analyzing a masterful poem by one of the most beloved American poets of all time.
Langston Hughes is a favorite with teachers and students for good reason—his writing is accessible but also challenging and he doesn’t shy away from the tough topics. In this poem, the speaker is tasked with a vague assignment to write a page about himself. His frustrations with finding the truth through writing are universal, but what this student reveals about the truths of race and his own identity are subtle, complex, and a great addition to your curriculum.
When you teach “Theme for English B” with this powerful lesson, you will:
Pairings: This poem would pair nicely with a unit on The Awakening, Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, The Great Gatsby, To Kill a Mockingbird, A Raisin in the Sun, Huck Finn, Native Son, Black Boy, Invisible Man, The Catcher in the Rye, I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, Their Eyes Were Watching God, or any unit on writing, the artist, race, identity, African American history, and/or the Harlem Renaissance.
There are no lectures or power points here—students will do the work themselves, with guidance from their teacher. Rather than telling them what the poem means, you will be empowering them with the confidence and skills to tackle a challenging text on their own.