The Dehumanization Of African American Literature In The 1940's

analytical Essay
2041 words
2041 words

Throughout much of history, the majority have overshadowed the minority. There have been many attempts to preempt this, although many have fallen short. The Oppressors have reigned dominant in society with ignorance as their friend. When society beats someone down, all they may have left, is their voice, which can be the most powerful tool of all. In the 1940’s, Jim Crow laws were in effect in the South and life for African Americans wasn’t ideal. Political events and protest marches throughout The United States were shut down due to fear of change; although, there were those that used other avenues of ingress into the mainstream to get their voices heard. American Literature was one of those avenues of ingress. There were many stories and …show more content…

In this essay, the author

  • Opines that the majority has overshadowed the minority throughout history, but many attempts to preempt this have fallen short. when society beats someone down, all they may have left is their voice.
  • Analyzes the power of symbolism in richard wright's short story, which highlights discrimination of the past and the present as well as the worst in society.
  • Analyzes the symbolism of jenny, the mule, and dave's youthful ignorance in the story.
  • Analyzes how the third symbol appears after dave kills the mule and it is discovered by others that he was the one that killed jenny.
  • Explains that richard wright included symbols in his work to combat racist ideals. langston hughes used them to shame the negative actions of society.
  • Analyzes how richard wright's "almost a man" helps bridge the gap between different groups of people. the plantation for dave saunders is synonymous with past cultural sins, potentially highlighting the negative effect it has had on african americans.
  • Analyzes how countee cullen, a prim and proper african-american, dehumanized the entirety of black culture. the challenge for writers was to convince their oppressors that they too are deserving of the same respect and opportunities as everybody else.
  • Analyzes how culturally charged literature for richard wright was a path to inform those that are unaccustomed to the dealings of african americans.
  • Analyzes how the theme of coming of age in "almost a man" ties directly in with both culture and literature.
  • Analyzes how "the man who was almost a man" reveled the truth to its readers through its imaginative symbolic representations and cultural literature.

African Americans were not looked at as humans, but instead as an inferior race and culture. The challenge for many writers during this time, was to convince their oppressors that they too are deserving of the same respect and opportunities as everybody else is. The way many went about this approach was through vicarious interaction amongst black culture. Giving people faces, names, joy, and problematic situations are much more than just their skin color. So, as people started to read some of the literature that was put out there by African Americans and other minorities, they started to garner a much grander perspective of African Americans and other underrepresented populations. Much of this can be seen in “Almost a Man.” As one starts to read Wright’s short story, the reader begins to see Dave Saunders differently as he begins to interact with his loved ones, and the people that he sees daily. Robert L. Ivie, a holder of a Ph.D. in both rhetoric and communication says that democratic societies cannot exist without some form of cohesion where people learn to interact with one another. So, essentially if it wasn’t Richard Wright or his peers to shed light on black culture, eventually as the democratic society grew, the outcome would have been the same. Robert goes a step further and even states that, “in which strangers develop and express public opinions by engaging one another.” (Ivie 455). Therefore, the democratic values of this nation push for an open-ended dialogue where individuals can learn about each other. Countee Cullen was great at doing just this with some of his works. Countee, an African American whom by all accounts was as prim and proper as any person could be at that time; decided to be an example for individuals who wanted to start a conversation about black and white cultural ties, and the negative impacts that can have on one

Get Access