Paul Lawrence Dunbar And The Harlem Renaissance Essay

Paul Lawrence Dunbar And The Harlem Renaissance Essay

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Paul Lawrence Dunbar born June 27, 1872 in Dayton Ohio. Dunbar mother was a laundress and his father a former slave, soldier and plasterer. As a student Dunbar was the only black in his senior class, nevertheless he was still nominated President of the class. During adulthood Dunbar eloped with Alice Ruth Moore who was a teacher. Dunbar had no children. As editor of his own newspaper “Dayton Tattler” his writing inspiration surface. Many of his family experiences of slave and plantation life influenced Dunbar later writing. There was often controversy about Dunbar dialect poetry, it was said to cruelty misread black history, and it was written for white audience. Before his death on February 9, 1906 Dunbar was considered influential because his poetry influence Harlem Renaissance writers such as James Weldon Johnson, Langston Hughes and Claude Mckay.
“The Harlem Renaissance served as a forum in which issues of race and identity could be openly discussed” (qtd. Verge9 1). Paul Lawrence Dunbar is known as a Harlem Renaissance writer, he wrote several great poems. For the following poem ‘Sympathy”, I will listed it themes as well as what I think each theme implies. Unhappiness: the bird was locked in the cage all alone; Angry: the bird was furious with his owner for keeping him locked up;
Abuse: the bird abused himself against the cage trying to escape; Freedom: all the bird wanted was to be set free so that he could enjoy the beauty of life outside the cage; Faith: the bird kept faith that he would be released one day, he prayed often; and Caged In: the bird was caged in against his will. In comparing “Sympathy” to the video “Slavery after Slavery” (12 Years a slave documentary), the slaves felt caged in by their master when they ...


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...people could see a brighter future. Opportunity; the slaves could only dream of doing things that they would like to do, not what their master instructed them to do. At the beginning of the fifth stanza in the poem “Ships That Pass in The Night” it states that the night is pregnant meaning that there is opportunity and equality for the people of the African American race.
Through the many works of Paul Laurence Dunbar great milestones have been paved for other African American Writers. His work has definite influenced how writers write in today’s society. Paul Laurence Dunbar works can be related to issues which goes go in everyday life experiences. Many factors that Dunbar was faced with in the past has somewhat become more subtle in today’s society. African American Writers should realize the honor and privileges great writers of the past have bestowed upon them.

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