“Line of Color, Sex, and Service: Sexual Coercion in the Early Republic” is a publication that discusses two women, Rachel Davis and Harriet Jacobs. This story explains the lives of both Rachel and Harriet and their relationship between their masters. Rachel, a young white girl around the age of fourteen was an indentured servant who belonged to William and Becky Cress. Harriet, on the other hand, was born an enslaved African American and became the slave of James and Mary Norcom. This publication gives various accounts of their masters mistreating them and how it was dealt with.
Deborah Gray White in Aren’t I a Woman: Female Slaves in the Plantation South theorizes that black women in the plantation south were the most vulnerable group in early America. These were black women in a white Southern society, slaves in a free American society, and women in a society ruled by men which gave them the least power and the most vulnerability in the plantation south. Their degradation was the result of American stigmas that understood black women as being promiscuous, licentious females who had high birth rates as well as a high pain tolerance. Although black women were seen as a part of the weaker sex, they were not seen as being as not seen as ineffectual. These women were sold for their abilities that include, but are not
In the novel, the Black narrator Claudia talks about how the ideal beauty of their society is White women, stating, “Adults, older girls, shops, magazines, newspapers, window signs – all the world had agreed that a blue-eyed, yellow-haired, pink-skinned doll was what every girl child treasured. ‘Here,’ they said, ‘this is beautiful, and if you are on this day “worthy” you may have it’ (Morrison 20). This quote is significant because it proves that the culture promotes the appearance of White women over Black women. Due to the large amounts of racism, many African Americans believed they lived in poverty because they were black. The narrator explained, “The Breedloves did not live in a storefront because they were having temporary difficulty adjusting to the cutbacks at the plant. They lived there because they were poor and black, and they stayed there because they were ugly” (Morrison 38). The discrimination was so extreme in the novel that the African American characters started to idealize the white race. One example of this is when Pecola, a black girl, yearned for blue eyes because she believes all of the cruelty in her life will then go away. This strong desire ultimately leads to insanity (Morrison 174). The psychological suffering that many of the young female characters went through is result of discrimination towards a racial
The 1920s was a time of great change for America. The 1920s also known as the “Roaring Twenties” and “Harlem Renaissance” became known as the decade of exciting social changes. New styles, attitudes, and literature were introduced to America during the Roaring Twenties. One of the greatest Harlem Renaissance poets during the 1920s was Langston Hughes.
...Moreover, the antithesis in “fine big house” and “shack” reflects the unbridgeable gulf between the two races. At the same time, it heightens the issue of segregation and racial discrimination which the African-Americans are suffering from. Meanwhile, words like “wonder”, “neither”, and “nor” show Hughes’ bitter sense of estrangement since he is unable to determine to which race he belongs. Thus, the poem is also a reminder by Hughes to his people of the tragic consequences of this social system on the mulatto offspring who have no place in either race. In this poem, Hughes dramatizes the inherent tensions of a mulatto who resents his mixed origins and ascribes his failure in life to it. Though blaming his parents at the beginning for his dilemma, Hughes ends by forgiving them and pitying himself for his dislocation and disenfranchisement from the American society.
Langston Hughes, born in February 1st, 1902, grew up in segregated America. His own ancestry was as mixed as that described in the poem. Both his great-grandmothers were enslaved African Americans and both his grandparents were white slave owners. Both of Hughes’ parents were of mixed race descent. Many of his family members were key figures in the elevation of blacks in society, and they impressed upon him the nobility of black people. Hughes had a rootless and often lonely upbringing, moving back and forth between family members’ homes. Hughes was a prominent leader of the Harlem Renaissance and referred to it as the period when “the negro was in vogue”.
The inconsistent American view of integrity exposed in “We Wear the Mask” Paul Laurence Dunbar and “Theme for English B” Langston Hughes acknowledges the struggle between how society views African Americans and how the community views itself. Circumstances were difficult in America amongst the end of the 19th and beginning of 20th century. An immense amount of changes were happening, and numerous people had a troublesome time dealing with them. African Americans specifically got in a culture that showed up to more superior to anything it had been before and surrounded by the Civil War. The truth was, things simply weren 't so divine. African-American of this time period are prime cases
due to Hughes, as a modern figure, writing about his own personal experiences; his bitter sadness is bound up with the bright side of love and positivity that has come in the wake of their relationship. ‘Pink Wool Knitted Dress’ references this happiness, as he recalls Sylvia “you sobbed with joy”. The use of the word ‘pink’ in the title is deliberate, denoting femininity, innocence, and happiness, things that are all destroyed eventually. There is contrasting motivation to write this text compared to the other two, as this appears to be Hughes way of dealing with his feelings of sadness following Plath’s suicide. The journey through their relationship from the happiness of their marriage in ‘Pink Wool Knitted Dress’ starkly contrasts some of the later poems. For example the poem ‘Epiphany’, with the title meaning sudden moment of realization, shows the deterioration of their relationship, as Hughes epiphany is that “our marriage had failed”. The use of the word ‘had’ shows the certainty that the marriage was finished, and they were no longer right for each other.
Women during this Jazz era were freer about their sexuality, but due to this freeness, an article called “Negro Womanhood’s Greatest Need” criticized the sexuality of Black women. In this article, the writers criticized Black women of the Jazz era; one part stated “.“speed and disgust” of the Jazz Age which created women “less discreet and less cautious than their sisters in the years gone by”. These “new” women, she continued, rebelling against the laws of God and man” (p.368). Women expressing their sexuality is not only an act against God, but also against men. In Toni Morrison’s “Recitatif” Twyla’s mother Marry had no problem expressing her sexuality because she was a stripper, who danced all night, she wore a fur jack and green slacks to a chapel to meet her daughter Twyla.
Zora Neale Hurston’s “Sweat” is a distressing tale of human struggle as it relates to women. The story commences with a hardworking black washwoman named Delia contently and peacefully folds laundry in her quiet home. Her placidity doesn’t last long when her abusive husband, Sykes, emerges just in time to put her back in her ill-treated place. Delia has been taken by this abuse for some fifteen years. She has lived with relentless beatings, adultery, even six-foot long venomous snakes put in places she requires to get to. Her husband’s vindictive acts of torment and the way he has selfishly utilized her can only be defined as malignant. In the end of this leaves the hardworking woman no choice but to make the most arduous decision of her life. That is, to either stand up for herself and let her husband expire or to continue to serve as a victim. "Sweat,” reflects the plight of women during the 1920s through 30s, as the African American culture was undergoing a shift in domestic dynamics. In times of slavery, women generally led African American families and assumed the role as the adherent of the family, taking up domestic responsibilities. On the other hand, the males, slaves at the time, were emasculated by their obligations and treatment by white masters. Emancipation and Reconstruction brought change to these dynamics as African American men commenced working at paying jobs and women were abandoned at home. African American women were assimilated only on the most superficial of calibers into a subcategory of human existence defined by gender-predicated discrimination. (Chambliss) In accordance to this story, Delia was the bread victor fortifying herself and Sykes. Zora Neale Hurston’s 1926 “Sweat” demonstrates the vigor as wel...
In Harriet Jacobs Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, the author subjects the reader to a dystopian slave narrative based on a true story of a woman’s struggle for self-identity, self-preservation and freedom. This non-fictional personal account chronicles the journey of Harriet Jacobs (1813-1897) life of servitude and degradation in the state of North Carolina to the shackle-free promise land of liberty in the North. The reoccurring theme throughout that I strive to exploit is how the women’s sphere, known as the Cult of True Womanhood (Domesticity), is a corrupt concept that is full of white bias and privilege that has been compromised by the harsh oppression of slavery’s racial barrier. Women and the female race are falling for man’s
She sheds a light of how early Black feminist scholars such as Collins have been criticized for relying too heavily on colonial ideology around the black female body. Subjectively neglecting the contemporary lived experience of Black women. Critiques such as these highlights the Black female agency in the representation of the body. viewing this as a human and sexual rights or health perspective has been lending to the contemporary Black feminist debates about the representation of Black female bodies and Black eroticism within the culture of
During the eighteenth and nineteenth-century, notions of freedom for Black slaves and White women were distinctively different than they are now. Slavery was a form of exploitation of black slaves, whom through enslavement, lost their humanity and freedom, and were subjected to dehumanizing conditions. African women and men were often mistreated through similar ways, especially when induced to labor, they would eventually become a genderless individual in the sight of the master. Despite being considered “genderless” for labor, female slaves suddenly became women who endured sexual violence. Although a white woman was superior to the slaves, she had little power over the household, and was restricted to perform additional actions without the consent of their husbands. The enslaved women’s notion to conceive freedom was different, yet similar to the way enslaved men and white women conceived freedom. Black women during slavery fought to resist oppression in order to gain their freedom by running away, rebel against the slaveholders, or by slowing down work. Although that didn’t guarantee them absolute freedom from slavery, it helped them preserve the autonomy and a bare minimum of their human rights that otherwise, would’ve been taken away from them. Black
The contradiction of being both black and American was a great one for Hughes. Although this disparity was troublesome, his situation as such granted him an almost begged status; due to his place as a “black American” poet, his work was all the more accessible. Hughes’ black experience was sensationalized. Using his “black experience” as a façade, however, Hughes was able to obscure his own torments and insecurities regarding his ambiguous sexuality, his parents and their relationship, and his status as a public figure.
Aside from the mother’s race and gender, her lack of education also plays a role in the hardships in her life. Hughes makes her limited education apparent in his use of her vernacular. Words like “ain’t” and “I’se” (MS lines 4, 9) symbolize the fact that Mother is from a Black background and she does not have sufficient education. These limitations, however, do not keep her from persevering and keeping a positive paradigm. She wants her son to realize that, though they may not have the best education or a more advantageous skin color, they must strive to overcome these hardships to reach their higher potential.