Connotation In Sundiata's The Law

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The final device of focus is connotation, and Sundiata uses this device to capture the life of a black male, but more importantly to highlight his experience with racism, and to criticize those who are responsible for those experiences, particularly law officers. Since the poet is African-American, part of the language used constitutes connotations that have deeper meanings in his reality. One of the overt connotations in the poem is “the Law” (Sundiata 2). “The Law” in this case does not refer to a rules system as understood, but to police officers who operate at traffic stops. In this case, “the Law” is used connotatively to communicate the message that police officers circumvent the actual law when dealing with black men, and they in turn…show more content…
This is an act that is criticized by the poet. Moreover, “what’s up? And what’s happening?” seem like questions but they are connotations for greetings (25). The speaker says that these “questions” amounted to law breaking because the speaker claims after speaking those words, “I said I guess / that’s when I really broke the law” and this shows how such expressions are perhaps used to categorize black males as criminals simply because they are not understood well, or they do not conform to conventional linguistic meanings (Sundiata 26-27). The perceived unconventional nature of such expressions is paired with “blackness” and it is unjustifiably associated with criminality. In fact, the term “bruthas” which means black males is used to show that such individuals cannot drive freely (Sundiata 49). Therefore, part of the connotations are used to capture some of the unfounded ideologies used to categorize black men as dangerous or criminals, and this reinforces the message that there is need to look beyond surface-level perceptions in order to overcome
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