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Bring on the tough stuff - there’s not just one right answer.
How does this poem make you think about what it means to be an American? How is "America" presented in this poem, and how does it make you feel about America?
What effect does the intensely domestic imagery of the poem – the house, the kitchen, the eating, the table – have on the themes of this piece as a whole?
What kind of character is the speaker? How do you feel about him as a spokesperson for American citizenry?
There are many different ways in which the speaker of this poem relates to "the other" (i.e., the white Americans) here. It's more than just "these people don't like these other people" – can you identify the whole range of emotions? How do these emotions make the piece more complicated?
What relationship does the historical setting of this poem have to Hughes's contemporary setting? That is, how does the poem manage to work on two levels – America in the time of slavery and America in the first half of the 20th century? How are those two time periods similar? How are they different?