Joanne Gabbin notices this, stating, “Likewise, in ‘Sympathy’ Dunbar grasps the universal cry for freedom, the inevitable theme of African American literature since black poets tried to sing in a strange land. The speaker in the poem metaphorically becomes the caged bird beating its wings against bars that do not give way” (Gabbin 228). Dunbar may also have been addressing the issue of African-American literature being used for minstrel tales and dialectic stories. Dunbar, along with other African-American poets at the time, felt trapped in the style and prose he was expected to write in, which brought focus to another aspect responsible for the style of literature known as African-American literature
Ellison is asking such questions through his veiled narrator. The author, in particular, is said to have drawn inspiration from the critical works of American writer and civil rights activist W.E. B. Dubois. Dubois in his work The Souls of black Folk wrote that the Afro-American lived in “double-consciousness” where he/she always looked at one-self ‘through the eyes of others, of measuring one’s soul by the tape of a world that looks on in amused contempt and pity’. Dubois along with Ellison tries to demolish the negative image and arise a positive one in this novel.
He became double-conscientious after being rejected in part of his childhood. This is true for many Negroes in America who considered themselves as problems. Double consciousness is viewing oneself from a different perspective particularly, others’ perspectives. (Bois, 2005 ) African Americans developed multiple identities for the different social situations. It is suggested that Negroes had struggled to deliver their message to the world because they didn’t want to overemphasise Africanism in America while simultaneously preserving their African identities, in order to form their own message based on their history.
DuBois has a term to explain the feelings of Afro-Americans that live in under the unequal rights; Double consciousness. It is a concept that DuBois states in his work “The Souls of Black Folk” It is a term for describing the internal conflict of an individual as if its your identitity is broken into several pieces and never feeling whole inside. Harlem renaissance writer Langston Hughes mentions this feeling in his poem “I, Too, Sing America” which describing the exact feeling that Afro-Americans being alienated from society and considered as inferior by the white people, that DuBois has told. Langston Hughes states in his poem that Afro-Americans are also part of the society that makes America; They should be considered as equals and should have every right equally with their white comrades. Hughes wrote "I, Too" from the point of view of an Afro-American man; either a slave or a local servant.
Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass tells the remarkable story of Frederick Douglass as he witnesses the dehumanizing effects of slavery on both slaves and their masters and works to be acknowledged as a human being. Douglass not only documents his journey from childhood to manhood, but also documents the mental and emotional the highs and lows of his emotions as he bounces between slavery and what he believes to be freedom. In the passage about his escape and arrival in New York, Douglass’ emotions regress from feelings of joy to feelings of emptiness. In the excerpt, Frederick Douglass recounts his transition from feelings of excitement to feelings of fear and loneliness during his escape and his arrival in New York using figurative language, diction, and repetition. Rather than blatantly stating his feelings, Douglass uses several kinds of figurative language to convey his emotions to the reader.
Its purpose is to express a certain feeling against an offender. America witnessed a gap between white and black citizens for centuries. Post modern literature which is called African American literature reflected this gape. African American literature is the body of literature produced by African descent writers in America. It focuses on the role of African Americans in the American society and explores issues of freedom and equality.
Pathos was sprinkled into the essay by the authors word choice. The author chose harsh and negative words when discussing the term african americans, for example “ To term ourselves as part “African” reinforces a sad implication: that our history is basically slave ships, plantations, lynching, fire hoses in Birmingham, and then South Central” (McWhorter 306). All of the words McWhorter uses do not have a positive connotation and they tend to make the reader feel sad and guilty. The authors word choice has the ability to play with the readers emotions and urges change, which is exactly what the author is searching
Langston Hughes is an African American Poet who is very closely connected to his culture and expresses his feelings very thoroughly through his poetry in a jazz style. Langston Hughes is a modern poet who ignore the classical style of writing poetry and instead, in favor of oral and improve traditions of the Black culture. In majority of Langston’s poetry, many of his audience seems to take away a very strong message that many can apply to themselves or to others or his poems gives you an educational background of what’s going on in the African American community right now. For example, Langston Hughes writes a poetry piece called Afro American Fragment, which gives you a great breakdown of what an everyday African American person goes through considering that their whole history is basically taken away from them. Langston seems to show his audience that in books we never hear much about what contributions a African American person has done except for being brought to America and being a slave.
For example, in the forth stanza Angelou states “Did you want to see me broken? Bowed head and lowered eyes? Shoulders falling down like teardrops, Weakened by my soulful cries?”. These lines display the theme set through out the poem by showing the fight that the African American people of America had for their civil rights in the 1950s-1960s. Angelou shows this in her writing by asking rhetorical questions to the people who were the oppressors of the African American community on how they would like to see them, but she shows that they will no longer be treated like a dog or a door mate they will stand up and fight for what they believe was a fight that could be won by them.