Claude Mckay's Bittersweet Relationship With America

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Claude McKay structures his poem around the argument of his bittersweet relationship with America. McKay hints at the negative aspects of America while proclaiming that the unfavorable features of America are what gives him life to survive in the country. In the poem, McKay uses elements of personification, imagery, metaphors, and his choice of diction to illustrate to the audience his love-hate relationship with America. Personification is the most prominent feature of the poem, as it is used to depict America as a female. Personification is often used in literary works to animate inanimate objects by giving them human traits to help readers connect with the inanimate object. For example in the first line, McKay writes “Although she feeds me bread of bitterness,” which helps the audience of connecting the idea of someone being fed food to a child being fed from his or her mother. By having the idea of a child being fed…show more content…
For example in line 1, where McKay writes. “...bread of bitterness,” which compares bread to the idea of bitterness ultimately projecting a feeling of sourness in one's mouth to the audience. McKay uses this to illustrate the hardships he has faced in America. Another example of a metaphor in the poem is in line 3, where it writes “Stealing my breath of life.” This statement about America stealing McKay’s breath of life is a comparison between America and McKay’s culture, as culture is an inseparable part of one’s life and represents an individual’s breath of life. The metaphors used in McKay’s poem along with the personification of America and the associated imagery helps the reader understand McKay’s relationship with America in

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