For this week’s Reading Analysis I found one major theme that all four poems have in common. In all of these poems, the common theme is being an outcast. In Langston Hughes’ poem “Theme for English B”, he talks about what it was like to go to school during the Harlem Renaissance. He felt that there was no need for segregation. Being a black student that attended Colombia University, he felt that both the blacks and the whites could learn from each other. He realized that although they were different in some aspects, they were similar in many ways as well. He felt that it was very important for a person to be able to look past ones exterior features, such as the color of their skin, and see who they truly are on the inside.
In “Queens, 1963“ by Julia Alvarez, many outcast families moved onto a street that was primarily a street of Americans. Although they were all different, the street still seemed to flow. While reading, I got the feeling that the speaker wished that the street could have been more neighborly. It was never stated that each family did not get along with one another but I felt as though they really never talked with each other. Similar to the way Hughes felt, had the families talked, they could have learned to appreciate the difference they all had and the similarities they all shared. These ideas are much related to that of which the Jesuits believe in as well; who you are on the inside is the most important thing.
In Jeffrey Harrison’s poem “Fork” and in Lucille Clifton’s poem “this morning (for the girls of eastern high school)”, both speakers are outcasts. However, by the end of each poem they feel as though they have “won.” In Harrison’s poem he used the abuse that his teacher once gave him to his advantage. He was an outcast growing up and it was pointed out to him daily. Everyone, including his teacher discouraged his writing and said that he would never make it. However, Harrison never let this abuse get the best of him. He stole the fork, which was shiny, new and had a lot of design to it. This allowed him to feel important and superior to his teacher because in a way, he beat him by stealing the fork. Now that he felt this way, he could truly tap into his true self and capabilities. This too relates to Jesuit traditions in that, at the end of the story Harrison sent the fork back; he didn’t need the expensive shiny fork. What he really needed was the motivation to reach out and find himself. Similarly, In Clifton’s poem she had finally found and accepted herself even though she may have been different from all of the other girls. She was a jungle girl which means she may have appeared to look a little roughed up, she was tall, and she was black. Typical girls of high school aren’t usually described this way but instead, they are clean, average height, white, and popular. Although Clifton isn’t necessarily a typical high school girl, one specific morning she realized that it was okay to be different. It was okay to be the best you can be, as long as you are you. This poem also relates to the same Jesuit ideas as all of the other poems; who you are has nothing to do with material items. It deals with the person you are deep within the soul.