Theme for English B
by Langston Hughes
Theme for English B Truth Quotes
How we cite our quotes: (Line)
And let that page come out of you—
Then, it will be true. (4-5)
Here, we're set up to think about this poem as an assignment geared towards finding the truth. Now, many people go through their whole lives looking for the Truth, capital T. So it seems a little ambitious to think that something true can come out of a simple page of writing. This assignment is also saying that if something comes from within, it's true. This part of the poem is laying it out with the authority of the instructor. No room to question here—the assignment must be completed, whether or not the students think it's legitimate.
I wonder if it's that simple? (6)
Just because it's laid out plain and simple, and must be done, doesn't mean that the assignment is accurate. In fact, our speaker is questioning his instructor's wisdom right here—on the page that, as we find out later, he turns in! It's brave to ask this question, but hey, the assignment is to record what the speaker is truly feeling, so in a way, this is following instructions to the letter.
It's not easy to know what is true for you or me
at twenty-two, my age. (16-17)
It ain't easy bein' me, huh? Our speaker here says that he just doesn't know what's true, and hey, he's only 22, so what does he know, anyway? How can he say what's true for anybody, including himself? The truth is a tricky thing for this young man, for all 22-year-olds, indeed, and perhaps for people of all ages from 1 to 101. (If you're 102, of course, then we can talk.) For real, though, truth is hard to come by, maybe especially for the young and open-minded and questioning among us.