Ignorance In Claude Mckay's The Lynching

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Lynchings, murder without trial by a mob, were very common in the nineteenth century and early twentieth. While the law was well enforced in cities at the time, many rural towns were left to their own. As seen in Claude McKay’s 1922 poem, The Lynching, such events happened in public areas in town and the dead hung for all to see. The author is thus illustrating the lack of law enforcement and the ignorance in the ways of the villagers, by how the murder went unpunished and the villagers accused an innocent man. If anyone can be accused, how can their society stay stable. All in all, through the rural setting and shocking actions, the author tries to show that for a society to function in a structured and organized way, ignorance must be avoided…show more content…
As stated above, without law enforcement being present, society cannot uphold its laws, which are the very foundation of a nation. The first way that McKay shows that law enforcement is crucial is through the action in the poem of a lynching, which is a crime of murdering someone, usually by the hands of a mob. In such a case, law enforcement should be active and on the scene, before the death to protect the lives of the country’s citizens. However, as seen in the quote, “Day dawned, and soon the mixed crowds came to view the ghastly body,” it is evident that not only did law enforcement not prevent the crime, but it also did not clean up after the crime (9). Law being the foundation of a nation, this should be unacceptable. McKay shows the effect well as the people have grown impassive to death as seen in the line, “never a one showed sorrow in her eyes of steely blue,” describing the women who did not care about the dead (11). This leads to the second part of this message, which is that being exposed to things like murder everyday can make people grow to be unaffected by such serious events. Growing up with this mindset that the law is not enforced, these children will not be upstanding members of their society. Unfortunately, the only way for a society to advance is for others to take a good initiative, and if the new generation does not do this, then the nation will not develop. For example, the line, “little lads, lynchers to be,” shows that these kids are growing into non-law abiding citizens, which must be changed, through the actions of law enforcement, to preserve the safety in their society (14). The last way that McKay shows that law enforcement is important is through the actions of the dead, who presumably tried to escape. If this person is trying to escape being killed,
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