Poets Claude Mckay and Langston Hughes are both well known for their literary contributions to the Harlem Renaissance. Roughly spanning from the 1910s to the 1930s, about two decades, the Harlem Renaissance is pinned as the intellectual, social, and artistic explosion of African American culture. At the same time, African Americans were treated as second-class citizens and dealt with a common consensus of disdain from the white folk. Authors and poets during this time were determined to write on the sufferings and strengths within the black culture. Through literary works such as "America" by Claude McKay and "Freedom" by Langston Hughes, the struggles encompassing the black experience are realistically portrayed through reoccurring themes
In the poem, McKay uses imagery and various simulacrums of America to depict his experience and his bleak view of the future and America. One of the most important elements in understanding the poem is knowing the identity of the author and the setting of the poem. Claude McKay is a black immigrant from Jamaica, and the poem was written in 1922. Because of the time period and the fact of the oppression faced by African Americans, it is more apparent to the reader why the writer takes a more cynical perspective of America. This leads to the speaker either being McKay himself or some other person of similar circumstances experiencing life in America.
W.E.B DuBois, Civil Rights activist, journalist, and educator, in his book “Black Reconstruction”, he researched the role African Americans played during America’s Reconstruction period. DuBois targets an audience of any open-minded reader that is willing to read about history from the lens of an African American. In the chapter titled “The Propaganda of History”, as the title suggests, DuBois argues that history is intentionally mispresented in order to influence the beliefs of the generations to come. “The Propaganda of History” analysis why the post-Civil War history remains manipulated and how that affects the African American community. One of his main claims is that the history of African Americans is subjective and belittling, that it
Many Authors in American Literature used their short stories or poems to give the real details about race. Authors such as Thomas Jefferson, Phillis Wheatly and Henry Longfellow are just a few who wrote about these details in their works. Thomas Jefferson and Henry Longfellow being white mean used their color as platform to try and abolish slavery. Phillis Wheatly gives her reader an insight on what is was like to be a slave. In this essay I will be discussing the writes struggles with the issue of
Without knowledge of these two black literary traditions, understanding the motives of Brother Jack, and more importantly Dr Bledsoe, are nearly impossible. Masking and signifying were methods of survival for blacks (and whites) trying to make it in the world. They were also ways to take advantage of others who were less informed of the world. Ralph Ellison writes the narrator as a person naive of the world at first, who gradually learns, through masking and signifying, that the world is a colder place than originally thought. The lessons the narrator learns from Dr Bledsoe and Brother Jack go a long way in establishing the identity of the man who chooses to live underground for the remainder of his life.
When one examines Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison, immediately one notices the duality of being black in society. Ellison uses the narrator to highlight his invisibility in society, although African-Americans have brought forth so many advances. This statement best represents the novel as the narrator examines his location (geography), his social identity, historical legacies of America, and the ontological starting point for African-Americans. The “odyssey” that the narrators partakes in reflects the same journey that many African-Americans have been drug through for generations. This statement takes on a literal and abstract meaning of odyssey.
“I am the poor white, fooled and pushed apart, I am the Negro bearing slavery’s scars. I am the red man driven from the land, I am the immigrant clutching the hope I seek.” In the poem “Let America Be America Again” by Langston Hughes, the reader here’s from two different speakers, and how they both seperately want America to change. One of the speakers wants America to go back to what it was before, while the other responds in small comments, building up to say the quote you read at the beginning. In the poem “Let America Be America Again” the author has two separate speakers with contradicting thoughts, the author relates to problems that were happening in the real world, and how the author’s rhyme scheme is a vital component to how this poem reads. In the poem “Let America Be
Through an extensive reference to recent social history and cultural studies pieces of literature, Eric Lott seeks to examine the role played by the blackface minstrel show during the prevalent political struggles that essentially saw the start of the civil war. In this account, Lott paints an image of the blackface minstrel as a show that primarily appropriated black dialect music and dance. In a similar regard, the show is perceived as one that, at some point applauded the black culture but unfortunately, and in an ironic manner, the show contributed to what was famously known as “blackening of America.” Additionally, through the content of his literary work, and reference to the blackface minstrel, Lott gives a novel interpretation of the very first and popularly renowned form of the 19th-century entertainment (Lott).
Although depicted in various forms and caricatures, the complex identity of being a Black American can be derived from a concept introduced in W.E.B. DuBois’ book Ways of Black Folk— double-consciousness (DuBois, 6). In this, DuBois investigates how the intersectional identity of Black folks contributes to their lived experiences; he ultimately asserts that Americans will struggle in determining the role of Black people and overcoming the metaphorical color-line, the clear distinction in the treatment of Blacks and whites (DuBois, 6). This problem is manifested in historical examples found in Samuel D. Pollard’s documentary Slavery by Another Name (Pollard, 2012). In addition to validating DuBois’ concerns about the integration of Black people
Some critics felt that the issue of blacks in America addresses an obsessive national concern, especially concerning the ambiguity of relations between whites, on one hand, and blacks or Indians, on the other. Therefore it was considered that the main theme of American Gothic is slavery. Tennessee Williams, born in 1911 and grew up in the American South, came to see it as being hopelessly corrupted by racism. His plays offer a devastating portrait of the prejudices of his native region. Even if racism is not often met in his works, at least compared with other major Southern writers, we can observe Williams's strong social conscience.