Comparing Langston Hughes and Adrienne Rich

The Reality that prevails in the end
On one hand, Adrienne Rich, a contemporary feminist, touches on the complex issues of women of her time in her poem ‘_Diving into the wreck’_, and on the other hand, Langston Hughes, a social activist, touches the issues of the black African-American culture in his poem ‘_Theme for English B’_. While Rich argues in the shoes of a feminist, Hughes argues about race. Yet, Equality, difficulty and discrimination are the common themes in both poems which makes them intertwined in an interesting way as both lead to the reality of the early 20th century.
Equality, as one of the common themes in both poems is very meaningful in today’s society. By extracting the truth from each of the two poems, one can clearly see the relationship between white versus black, and woman versus man. From Hughes’s poem, at the time he wrote ‘Theme for English B’ in 1951, there were still issues about equality in the US. Although it was after the abolition of slavery, the ‘colored’ student was not comfortable being the way he is. Colored people were not as equal to white Americans as they wanted to be. Hughes highlights in the poem that ‘I guess being colored doesn’t make me NOT like the same as other folks like who are other races’(25-26). He implies that even if he is colored, he still likes the same as other people of different race. This is among one of the things that make ‘colored’ equal to white Americans – taste. He implies that the equality does not yet exist when he says ‘to this college on the hill above Harlem’; this part of the poem refers to the socioeconomic hierarchy. Black people at that time were at the very bottom and white people were at the top. Therefore, his white school is at the top and Harlem is down that status hierarchy.
From Rich’s perspective, ‘_diving in to the wreck__’_ by herself proves that she is equal to any man who once went underwater for exploration. She is a strong believer in gender equality as all the...