Paul Laurence Dunbar, one of the first African-American poets to receive widespread recognition from both the Caucasian and African-American communities released many pieces of literature expressing his feelings throughout his life during the Reconstruction era. Two of these pieces, “We Wear the Mask” and “Sympathy” were short poems that veered from his regular dialectic pieces, aimed at aiding in Reconstruction, and held hidden rebellions against the mistreatment of African-Americans at the time the passages were released. The African-American and Ethnic Literary Studies critical approach is a tool used while critiquing pieces of literature that hold common themes or elements tracing back to slavery and segregation in early America. This approach
“Marshall seems to identify that blackness is fundamental to what it means to be African American”(Robertson, J., & McDaniel, C., 2005, page 49). Marshall always attempts to reconcile the Western ideals and black theme, he will make the juxtaposition of the two objects in his painting, prominent hero of black identity, emphasizing the background of the identity of the history and the current social and political conditions. Marshall is committed to the pure western countries in the black culture and black social identity, which reflect the social problems of racial discrimination. Since he concentrated on the painting of black objects, people often recognize his paintings and feel the black cultural background that he
Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man is a sensational narrative that traces the African American journey to freedom, following reconstruction and leading up to the civil rights movement. Ellison’s use of socio-historical data to construct his novel has served to make Invisible Man one of the truest retellings of the African America experience. Ellison’s work does not shy away from exposing unpleasant truths, regarding the struggle to obtain and secure self-identity in a country that relies on the power of stereotypes to protect social hierarchies that are already in place. Invisible Man’s richness resides in Ellison’s careful unweaving of the social tapestry through a system of reversals. Ellison identifies the prevailing stereotypes, which act as identifiers for many of his characters, and reverses them to expose the dangers of using stereotypes to characterize, and understand individuals.
Poetry was a major part of the Harlem Renaissance, because it tells different stories of black culture in African American literature. Many poets wrote poetry related to the black movement during a time of ambiguity of our rights as Americans like James Weldon Johnson, Langston Hughes, Claude McKay, and Alain
African American Literature has imagery, themes, and vocabulary that are distinctive to its race. This form of literary expression was created by racism. The main reason why I don’t think that Caucasian can write about our experiences is neither because their debated writing presumes a perspective that they have not nor could they ever experience. If not handled properly, the work could come off as offensive. For those Caucasians who chose to write about African American Literature risk the misrepresentation; will the work be truthful?
In the contemporary era, the issue of race remains a prevalent topic in public discussion. Thus, Colson Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad is meaningful as it explores the legacy of racial injustice in the United States and its consequences in today’s society. In his development of the underground railroad as a literal and physical vehicle to freedom, Whitehead is able to candidly detail the ubiquitous nature of racial prejudice and the horrors associated with it. Over the course of his novel, the author utilizes a variety of rhetorical devices in order to further explore the many hardships that ‘freedom’ inevitably entails. In particular, Whitehead’s use of imagery, character interactions and Aristotelian appeals brings to attention aspects of race relations that were and are still often misunderstood or disregarded by society.
Wright is critiquing black writers for being too artistic. Instead, he implores them to be more political. His goal in writing is to make people aware of the social injustices occurring. The Negro writer who seeks to function within his race as a purposeful aren has a serious responsibility. In order to do justice to his subject matter, in order to depict Negro life in all of its manifold and intricate relationships, a deep, informed, and complex consciousness is necessary; a consciousness which draws for its strength upon the fluid lore of a great people, and more this lore with concepts that move and direct the forces of history today (Wright,
James Baldwin, was an american novelist, who spoke about the pain and the struggle of black Americans; racial and social issues, and the power of brotherhood. Baldwin broke new literary ground with the exploration of racial and social issues in his many works. He was especially well known for his essays on the black experience in America. James Baldwin's short story “Going to meet the Man” was wrote during this time. The story talks about the sexualization of minorities, the difference between black and whites, and sexual violence.
Throughout much of his poetry, Langston Hughes wrestles with complex notations of African American dreams, racism, and discrimination during the Harlem Renaissance. Through various poems, Hughes uses rhetorical devices to state his point of view. He tends to use metaphors, similes, imagery, and connotation abundantly to illustrate in what he strongly believes. Discrimination and racism were very popular during the time when Langston Hughes began to develop and publish his poems, so therefore his poems are mostly based on racism and discrimination, and the desire of an African American to live the American dream. Langston Hughes poems served as a voice for all African Americans greatly throughout his living life, and even after his death.
Secrecy, in its pure nature, disorients society from what one wishes to expose; it becomes a prerequisite to many for it is portrayed as the only course of action to mask one’s true self, imperfections, and mistakes, without consequences. Society attempts to disguise or delude sins due to shame or fear of dilapidating a reputation and, often, hiding behind white-lies reveals a person’s forthright values and conscientious intentions. Consequently, Nathaniel Hawthorne intensifies the need for secrecy through the character of Arthur Dimmesdale - whom questionably attempts to avoid facing his own sin - by beautifully practicing motif throughout the novel The Scarlet Letter. Dimmesdale’s mistakes are clearly affirmed to the reader when he commits adultery and keeps his secret to himself. The character does so to preserve his reputation of town-minister with the reasoning that the townspeople would essentially depart from God if he were to “expose himself.” The Irony comes into play when Dimmesdale becomes rather idiosyncratic to the reader since the character is, essentially, a fraud.
The topic of both poems have their similarities in a way, but they are also different. Langston Hughes and Maya Angelou both fought for the rights of African Americans. Langston Hughes fought for rights of all African Americans, while Maya Angelou mainly focused specifically on women’s rights. “I, Too, Sing America” is