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Joshua Doonquah

on 8 February 2014

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Transcript of Poets

Theme of Racism
Comparison Between
'Dreaming Black Boy' and 'Theme for English B'

Racism - this can be defined as a change in ones attitude towards a person based on their race or culture.
Dreams/Desires - this is an individual's yearning for their wishes and goals.
Poem Summaries
Hughes' 'Theme for English B' speaks of an african american student's experience at his predominantly white college, ironically in the city of Harlem.
Berry's 'Dreaming Black Boy' is about a black boy who wishes that he could have regular things in life. The persona yearns to stop fighting for the basic right to be successful and to rise above societal expectations.

The tone of the persona in 'Dream Black Boy' is one of sadness and hopelessness. This is seen in his longing for basic things such as adults of his race standing up for themselves. This causes the mood to be of sadness as well.
In Hughes' poem, the tone of the persona is reflective as he talks about himself, his likes and his hobbies and he realizes that despite his skin colour, he is not much different from his white professor and colleagues. The mood also becomes reflective because of this.
Literary Devices
Both poems share the literary device of Repetition. Repetition may be defined as the simple repeating of a word, within a sentence or a poetical line in order to provide emphasis.
James Berry

Was born and raised in rural Jamaica but settled in England after his young adult days.
He explores the relationship between black and white communities
Langston Hughes
Was an American poet, social activist, novelist, playwright, and columnist.
Hughes was known for his works relating to racial situations as it was his forte.
The major theme present in both poems is racism.
In 'Dreaming Black Boy' racism is seen in the situations experienced and circumstances faced by the young persona on a daily basis due to his race. These experiences have an adverse effect on his development and his mentality.
In 'Theme for English B' it is seen where events from the past have influenced the persona's perception of both himself and the world around him.
Theme of Desires/Dreams
In 'Dreaming Black Boy', this theme is constantly reiterated with the repetition of the words "I wish". This shows the persona's yearning for a better, equal world.
Each poem also has a literary device of their own which is rhetorical questions in 'Theme for English B' and allusion in 'Dreaming Black boy'
Effectiveness of Literary Device
This repetition in 'Theme for English B' emphasizes the profound impact that Harlem, New York, has had on the personality of the persona.
The repitition in 'Dreaming Black Boy' is constant repetition of the phrase 'I wish' points to a yearning, a desperation even, for the basic things that life has to offer. The repetition gives credence to the idea that the persona might believe that his wishes are actually dreams that might not come true.
Literary Devices
Allusion - is a figure of speech, in which one refers covertly or indirectly to an object or circumstance that has occurred or existed in an external context
Rhetorical Question - A rhetorical question is a figure of speech in the form of a question that is asked in order to make a point
Examples of Literary Devices
Stanza 1, lines 6 and 7, alludes to slavery, the state of lacking control over one's own life. The fact that reference is made to this hints to how the persona feels about his life. He does not feel as if he has control over it.

Stanza 4, lines 22 to 25, alludes to the klu klux klan. Burning lights refers to the burning of crosses and the pyjamas alludes to their white outfits that look like pyjamas. The persona wants them to leave him alone, find something else to do other than make his life difficult by contributing to his wishes remaining in the realm of the dreams.
Allusion in 'Dreaming Black Boy' :
Examples of Literary Devices
Rhetorical Question in 'Theme for English B':

Stanza 2, line 6: The persona ponders the ease of what he is asked to do. This question, in turn, actually highlights the difficult nature of the task.

Stanza 4, line 32: The persona is wondering whether his race will affect what he writes on the page. This is despite the fact that he concludes that race does not hinder people, in general, liking the same things.
Full transcript