The topic I have chosen is the “Harlem Renaissance” this is the name given to that period. That describes the art, and civilization that mushroomed after the world war which stood out in the mid-1930’s. To provide some background, Harlem was the neighborhood that is located on the Upper East Side of Manhattan.
These residents were predominantly from the south. They came with their message to bring their art, in the form of poetry that had no barriers in the same way as the ?New Negro’ revolution was founded in that respect.
This community was a cultural place where the blacks had the pride and opportunity to put their art on display. Consequently, the Harlem Renaissance was a place for the expression of pride for the black community and culture. This includes the insight of that the writers, artists, photographers, and so on to speak out on their specific art with certainty and pride..
My focus will be on two poets of the Harlem Renaissance Claude McKay and Langston Hughes. Their roles and influences within this literary movement are indeed recognized, and review the poems, “If We Must Die” and “Harlem (Dream Deferred).”
The poem “Harlem” Hughes asks a fundamental question about dreams and about what happens when ideas are ignored or postponed. Hughes saw the hopes of many residents of Harlem, New York crumble in the wake of WWII. This poem tells that the Great Depression was over; the war had ended, however, for African Americans of that time gave the impression of whatever specific structure it took, was all the while being approved (Kemp, 2013).
Whether a person’s dream was as ordinary as hitting the lottery or as decent as planning to see one’s children or child raised properly, Langston Hughes places the consideration that every one of them are important; he takes the postponement of every dream to heart. The entire poem refers to the inherent structure of talk. The speaker of the lyrics is seen as an obscure artist. The speaker celebrates the soul of the African-American community and wanted to embody the state of the everyday life of black people through his craft in a period in time where several artists were afraid for fear of feeding a racial typecast or rather sterotype.
In different worlds, their dreams and fantasies didn’t work out as foreseen, where African-Americans are guaranteed equality, but yet are still not satisfied. They are delayed and conceded. The just promise has not been given however has never been brought into reality (Harden & Jackson, 2012). Through this ballad, Langston Hughes looked at the possible impacts created by the fantasyr’s when they are passed. To the point when the fantasies are still conceded, or when dreams are continually put off, in-turn we are cut in the middle of trust and misery.
The dream stays on the brain like an overwhelming weight, to the point that these loads are increased, and are unavoidable. The speaker reasonably suggest that the fantasies will push and demolish every one of the obstacles forced upon them. Following that, the society of their fantasy will be regarded.
At the point when the dream is put on hold, it brings a sense of dissatisfaction. Like the poem says “It goes away like a raisin in the sun. However, there is wet inside. Similarly, it stinks like spoiled meat” it explains that the meat rots like a sore and one day it will explode and cause more harm.
This ballad is a series of questions, for sure as a tenant of Harlem would. The best picture is in the lyric “dream goes away like a raisin.” The comparison of the first dream to a grape, which is round, delicious, green and new. Since the fantasy has been disregarded for some time, it is related to as leaves that wither away (Kemp, 2013).
The next picture is in the lyric “rot like a sore and after that run” passes on a sensation of uncleanness and pain. Contrasting this fantasy to a sore on the body, this artist suggests that unpursued dreams end up being a piece of us, similar to the damage that has collected discharge. “Fester” would indicate something rot and “run” actually some discharge. This perspective appears to indicate to the agony or suffering that one has when one’s dreams dependably concede. A delayed dream is similar to the immense damage that starts to be tainted. The following picture “Does it stink like spoiled meat” intensifies the feeling of contempt.
In summary, the fantasy allows a likewise stink. The artist additionally mentions the unfortunate consequences of disregarding or obstructing individuals’ imaginations or dreams. In summing up, “Harlem” generates knowledge into the African American situation in the time of the Civil Rights Movement of the 60’s.
Another pioneer of the Renaissance Movement was the poet Claude McKay. McKay was born on September 15, 1889, Clarendon Parish, Jamaica. McKay spent much of his early life in Jamaica. His parents were well-off farmers with landed property, and McKay lived a relatively comfortable life. It was only upon moving to the United States in 1912 that McKay comes across strong public discrimination facing African Americans. Segregation at that time was as much a part of society and put Claude McKay off the “machine-like existence” that he went to Kansas State University. During his life, McKay was motivated to produce some of the most original works representing the Harlem Renaissance.
McKay’s literary legacy traversed a period where he created stories of the peaceful life of a peasant in Jamaica, the labors of the honest black worker in America and rage against American white authorities. Perhaps most known is McKay’s image on the so-called “double consciousness” of blacks which helped them persevere in a civilization where racism was so rooted in the civic awareness. McKay’s focal works expressed his disdain for the widespread racism and prejudice, blacks confronted in their community. Arthur D. Drayton, in his essay “Claude McKay’s Human Pity” says: “In seeing . . . The significance of the Negro for mankind as a whole, he is at once protesting as a Negro and uttering a cry for the race of mankind as a member of that race. His human pity was the foundation that made all this possible”. (Claude McKay, 2015.).
Both writers embraced the principle of “double consciousness” that was so essential to the existence of African Americans in the 20’s. In the writing “If We Must Die” by Claude McKay, he presents the picture of the African American into the eyes of the prejudiced the white person: “If we must die, let it not be like hogs/ Hunted and penned in an inglorious spot,” “making their mock at our accursed lot” obviously illustrates a white person’s attitude towards the African American nation. The blacks are a hated and “accursed lot.” Their constant struggle against prejudice and segregation they endured in to have a little better life than dogs. McKay states, “What though before us lies the open grave.” The sense of end and absolute hopelessness seems to embrace this line: McKay intelligently demonstrates the embarrassing attitude of the world towards the blacks
If We Must Die” was placed toward the background of racial riots that were taking place in several major cities across the US during 1919. The press writing was biased, and the suppression of African Americans was unmerciful. The picture of “mad and hungry dogs” (line 3) is nearly a double metaphor, where it includes not so lonely doglike nature of White people who deprived the black citizens, but also what they believed of those black people: as dogs who could be overcome like animals. The line “If we must die” is echoed repeatedly during the poem, where McKay shows that an offensive end to the African American liberties in America seems inevitable however he challenges his people to assemble and stand strong: “O kinsmen! We must meet the common foe!” and show courage: “Though far outnumbered let us show us brave.” The poet urges the back nation not to back down: “Like men we’ll face the murderous, cowardly pack, /Pressed to the wall, dying, but fighting back!”
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