Their poems portray individuals are conflicted as to where they belong and how they identify themselves. While the differences between the poems are telling in their own right, the similar theme of racial identity is what links all four poets together in the larger context of being “negro poets”. “Mulatto” is the strongest case for racial confusion of the two titles that will be analyzed. A mulatto is someone who is classified as a person of mixed white and black ancestry, especially a person with one white and one black parent. It is this exact type of person that Hughes and McKay are writing about in their identically titled works.
The Black Arts Movement proved to be a very pivotal, and much needed moment in African-American literature to disrupt a past tradition of humble, prim, “decorous ambassadors” African-American novelist have been categorized as (Wright 1403). During the movement a shift occurred in the perspectives and understanding of African-American novelists and poets. The conscience of the those in literature seemed to have been awakened as they became aware of their social responsibility and influence in the African-American community. The range of the views held by those of the Black Arts Movement varied significantly from the social function of African-American art to a more narrow perspective of what it means to be a black individual and or writer. A great deal of the work created at this time was very opinionated and designed to empower and uplift African-Americans.
The Norton Anthology of African American Literature. Ed. Henry Louis Gates, Jr and Nellie Y. McKay. 2nd ed. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2004.
“Life in the “Black Metropolis.” The Norton Introduction to Literature. Kelly J. Mays. W. W. Norton and Company, Inc., 500 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10110. 2013. Print.
American literature is full of authors who describe, condone or oppose slavery, the most informative and influential of whom were Black writers because many were able to give a personal perspective on slavery. These Black writers had to struggle to be accepted as literary writers before they could get their message across. "The tradition of black writing in the United States is, in many ways, a history of attempts at literary liberation from racism-attempts to articulate in a specifically black context the characteristic American themes of freedom and self-determ... ... middle of paper ... ...d by Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Penguin Group Publishing, New York, 1987. Costanzo, Angelo. Surprizing Narrative, Olaudah Equiano and the Beginnings of the Black Autobiography, New York: Greenwood Press, 1987.
Marcus Garvey. New York: Chelsea House Publishers, 1988. O'Meally, Robert G. "Ellison, Ralph." Encyclopedia of African-American Culture and History. 1996 ed.
The Literature of the American South: a Norton Anthology. New York: W.W. Norton, 1998. 397. Print. Andrews, William L. "Old Mansion."
The Harlem Renaissance. Philadelphia: Chelsea House Publishers, 1998., 70-98 Du Bois, W. E. B. "Criteria of Negro Art." The Portable Harlem Renaissance Reader. David Levering Lewis, ed.