Way Down South In Dixie Analysis

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As we dive further and further into Hughes’ haunting song, we notice that a theme of love is coupled with the ideals of existing racism. Lines nine and ten, “Way Down South in Dixie, (Break the heart of me)” brings us full circle to understanding the meaning behind our speaker’s heartbreak. These lines are a refrain of lines one and two, which hammer home the heartbreak of our speaker. Our speaker’s lover was taken away for no other reason than besides the color of his skin, which presents an ultimate heartbreak for our speaker and the collective black community that she embodies. Another way of looking at this line is through what the hanging represents and the possibility that her heartbreak deals with more than just an affectionate love.…show more content…
Our speaker begins to question her faith when experiencing the aftermath of her lover’s death, which has been caused by the hands of embodied racism. Our first hint of faith and connection to the Lord can be seen in lines three and four, “They hung my black young lover, To a cross roads tree” (lines 3-4). The disturbing portrayal of her lover hanging from a cross roads tree happens to evoke images of Jesus hanging from the cross. Persecuted for having different beliefs, she attributes the ideals and actions of rooted racism in the south to those carried out when Jesus was hung on the cross. Moreover, one can sense the deep lying issues brought forth by this singular occurrence as attributing to a more universal persona. Our speaker hints that if something like this happened thousands of years ago, when will it stop, and what is the point of praying to a Lord who looks similar to the ones who carry out such hate? Lines seven and eight allude to that point, “I asked the white Lord Jesus, What was the use of prayer” (lines 7-8). These lines really tie together all three of the themes that are present throughout—love, race, and faith. Our speaker is asking, “What is the point of praying to a white Lord Jesus for a black young lover?” Upon reading, I sense a bit of anger and desperation that’s associated with her questioning of her Lord, with relation to the black community’s significance in southern culture. If white people who pray to a white Lord can commit such heinous crimes against black folks who also pray to the same Lord, what is the use of prayer? This line is one of the most apparent images in justifying that the speaker is more of a universal figure, talking about the black community that has been oppressed through the racist actions of their white counterparts. As seen

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