Essay about Analysis Of B. Dubois 's The Souls Of Black Folk

Essay about Analysis Of B. Dubois 's The Souls Of Black Folk

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In what is arguably W.E.B. DuBois’ most famous work, The Souls of Black Folk, he introduces and addresses two concepts that describe the Black experience in America— the concepts of “the veil” and “double-consciousness.” Though DuBois uses these terms disjointedly, their meanings and usage in his works are deeply intertwined. The implication, as well as the connotation of these words not only describe the plight of being Black and American then, it rings true to the core and essence of what it means to still be both Black and American today – the remnants of the past live on. For DuBois, the veil concept principally refers to three things: First, the veil refers to the literal darker skin of Blacks, which is the physical demarcation of the difference from whiteness. Secondly, the veil implicates white people’s lack of clarity in order to see Blacks as “true” Americans. And lastly, the veil refers to Blacks’ lack of clarity to see themselves outside of what white America prescribes for them. I argue that although DuBois was the first to coin these two terms, it is clear through analyzing Uncle Tom’s Cabin and 12 Years a Slave that these two concepts gave a name to what so many African-Americans felt but previously could not express due to a lack of words to accurately describe their pain.
Slavery established the black body at the bottom of the American social order, and DuBois’ mission was to humanize black people in the eyes of white people – to clarify that these are people, these are human beings, and these are families. In his first essay, he mentions a singular question that most white people want to ask black men. This question is always: "how does it feel like to be a problem?" While nobody ever directly asks this quest...


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...uch like DuBois, Stowe and Northup contend that the problem of the twentieth century is the problem of the color line, as well as the stratification and marginalization processes that exists due to the existence of this line. The veil, as explained to the reader by all three authors – explicitly or not – is the way in which African-Americans experience social relations in the United States. The veil marks them with another identity: the identity of a person of color. A black person in the United States, thus, does not carry only one identity, but two conflicting identities that can seemingly never be separated from one another. Like Stowe and Northup, DuBois had to speak to audiences of two different cultural dispositions, and bridge the gap between them. And beyond this task, DuBois had to also reconcile the “two-ness” within him – much like Tom and Northup had to.

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