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An Explosion Of Culture Essay

1139 words - 5 pages

The poems “Yet Do I Marvel”, “The Negro Speaks of Rivers”, and “Tenebris” by Countee Cullen, Langston Hughes, and Angelina Grimké, respectively, reflect attitudes towards the Harlem Renaissance. The Harlem Renaissance, which spanned the early twentieth century, brought about an explosion of African American culture that spread throughout the world. These poems use the figurative language techniques of allusion, personification, and imagery to reflect the ideas of many participants in the Harlem Renaissance, including revolution and unfairness.
The first of these poems, “Yet Do I Marvel” by Countee Cullen, presents the idea of African Americans not being able to express their culture during ...view middle of the document...

Since this kind of thing had never happened before, African American culture had never been able to get out into the world, and now that Cullen realized that that was his job now, their culture was able to get recognized by other people.
“Tenebris” by Angelina Grimké uses personification to foreshadow the possibility of racial unrest between African Americans and whites. In her poem, Grimké claims that a tree has a shadow that is like a black hand which “Against the white man’s house…plucks and plucks at the bricks” (Grimké 1277). By personifying a shadow as a black hand plucking at a white man’s house, Grimké is suggesting that blacks during the Harlem Renaissance had only annoyed the white race, and that a sort of unrest will eventually come between them. The Harlem Renaissance, besides spreading African American culture, created heightened tension between blacks and whites, and race riots did occur, one of the most famous being the Harlem Riot of 1943. In his review over the book The Harlem Riot of 1943 by Dominic J. Capeci, Robert V. Haynes describes how the riot was started, saying that blacks felt betrayed by decisions of the white government, but in the aftermath, both blacks and whites “tried to conceal the racial aspects of the riot by blaming it upon hoodlums” (Haynes 555). So not only was Grimké correct in her foreshadowing poem, she was also understating the situation. Racial unrest most definitely came from the Harlem Renaissance, but it was not temporary. Since no one took the blame for the Harlem Riot of 1943, racial unrest continued not only in and Harlem and New York, but all around the country. Because of this, repercussions of the Harlem Renaissance had both a positive and negative effect on the United States.
“The Negro Speaks of Rivers” by Langston Hughes depicts a black man thinking of African American history and its connection to rivers, using strong imagery to convey that African American pride is unlike any other man’s. In the poem, Hughes writes in first person about different things that African Americans have done throughout history, saying things like “I looked upon the Nile and raised the pyramids above it” (Hughes 1278). Every connection that Hughes makes with black history includes a river, which creates imagery that reveals African Americans doing all of these different things by a river. Hughes...

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