Dorothy West Research Paper

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Critics views on social, gender, class, racial and economic issues which are focused in Dorothy West’s works. KUKATLAPALLI SUBBARAYUDU M.A. in English (EFL University), SET
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Abstract: Dorothy West was a prolific writer. She has written novels, short stories and started journals Challenge and New challenge. She worked for the Works Progress Administration’s Federal Writer’s Project during the Great Depression. She has published more than sixty short stories in the New York Daily News and she was the first black
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Research reveals that even before the United States was a nation, black women found ways to express themselves through the written word. Writing efforts of black women have begun with Lucy Terry’s work Bars Fight, and continued with Phyllis Wheatley’s Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral which was published 1733 (Nellie McKay, 152-153). Dorothy West is one of the greatest African American writers and being a prolific writer has written passionately on various themes and subjects. Lawrence Rodgers in his review on African American literature has expressed his views on Dorothy West’s novel, The Living Is Easy. In his point of view West’s first novel is easily identified as a satiric picture of Boston’s counterfeit bourgeois, its black middle class and as a novel that indicts black society arterially modeled on false white values (162). In the novel, The Living Is Easy, the character Cleo is represented as West’s mother Rachel Pease Benson who came from South Carolina to work in the houses of white women. She marries Isaac Christopher West who is older than her, just to attain bourgeois status. She loves money, and behaves like a rich white woman. She imitates white rich people and wants to achieve high social status, like white bourgeois class. H Katz in his article “Cleo and the Black Boston Elite in The Living Is…show more content…
They participated almost in every war, including the Revolutionary War. Although black soldiers proved themselves as reputable soldiers, discrimination in pay and other areas remained widespread. Tanya Lee Stone, in his work, Courage Has No Color, the True Story of the Triple Nickels: America’s First Black Paratroopers (2013) has focused on race discrimination in the American army. He stated that enlisted black men are segregated from white soldiers and regularly downgraded to service duties. Dorothy West didn’t witness the slavery, but she was aware of slavery. That is why she explored the issue racial discrimination in her works. Though African Americans have been living in the United States of America for decades, legally or socially sanctioned privileges and rights are given to white Americans but denied to them. Whereas migrated white Europeans are granted exclusive privileges in matters of education, voting rights, citizenship, and land acquisition. There formed a gulf between the white and the black and recognized as two different races and stick on to their own race in the matters of marriage and social living. In her first novel The Living Is Easy, Dorothy West expressed female societal limitations through the character Cleo Judson. Race played a major role to resist the
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