*What is Hughes’ attitude to the idea of Freedom in “Words Like Freedom” and “Freedom” *877/878. What is the underlying theme of “Theme for English B”?
Langston Hughes expresses his appreciation for freedom in “Words Like Freedom” through effective word choice and his use of similes, for instance: “There are words like Freedom” and “There are words like Liberty” suggests that freedom and liberty are not just words to him, as they contain a deeper meaning for him. This is more evident when he states: “On my heart-strings freedom sings / All day everyday”. Here, Hughes implicitly reveals how he doesn’t take freedom or liberty for granted; it is important to note the biographical context of this poem, because like many African Americans, Hughes’ relatives were enslaved African Americans, which explains why he appreciates freedom and liberty so much: “If you had known what I know / You would know why”.
Hughes’ poem “Freedom” is the epitome of what freedom means in my opinion, as he expresses the importance of human rights, and implicitly suggests that the colour of one’s skin shouldn’t impact one’s human rights: “Freedom is a strong seed / Planted / In a great need”. This protestation highlights the fact that the right to freedom is inherent to all human beings, hence the word choice of “planted” and “seed”. Furthermore, it offers insight into the politics of the time this poem was written, as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights wasn’t established until 1948.
After reading Hughes’ poem “Theme for English B”, I consider some of the underlying themes to be revolved around a solution to the tension and conflict between two cultures. He does this by emphasising the importance of unity and pluralism, as he believes that both cultures can be a part of the American identity: “You are white-yet a part of me, as I am a part of you. That’s American”.