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Black Aesthetic Reformation Essay

1109 words - 4 pages

In Frederick Douglass’ The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, Written by Himself, Countee Cullen’s “Yet Do I Marvel,” and Richard Wright’s “The Man Who Was Almost a Man,” perceptible transmogrification towards the black aesthetic has befallen throughout the contradistinctive literary periods. Douglass’ slave narrative, written in the nineteenth century to describe the astringent realities of slavery in America, is indicative of the protest aesthetic in African American Literature. Cullen’s poetry, on the other hand, reinvigorates the British Romantic poetry by emulating the iambic pentameter, and it epitomizes the bourgeois aesthetic, which predominantly addresses the class and race issues. Wright’s story is archetypal of the proletarian aesthetic, which primarily focuses on inequalities in the working class and is highly evocative of the communist party. The black aesthetic has played a part in enhancing the comprehensive constitution of life for African Americans by distilling on the ethical issues, such as the evils of slavery and the unparallel economic disadvantages, of the period that help circumvent racial and class bigotry.
First, since many Americans are in denial about slavery as a means of salvation, it is paramount to note that Douglass’ The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, Written by Himself is written about the authentic treacherous acts of slave owners deceiving slaves while noting a benevolent slave owner cannot exist. During the Christmas holidays, Douglass claims that slave owners concede to the intoxication of their slaves in order to beguile the slaves into believing the aftermath of intoxication is associated with the disaster of freedom, thus forcing them to believe slavery is beneficial for them. Douglass states, “We felt… we had almost as well be slaves to man as to rum. So, when the holidays ended, we … marched to the field,--feeling, upon the whole, rather glad to go, from what our master had deceived us into a belief was freedom, back to the arms of slavery” (Douglass 94). In order for the ruse to work effectively, slaves must be deceived into thinking that their only options in life are to be a slave to alcohol, the beverage responsible for making them act in an animal-like manner, or to their white masters. Moreover, Douglass depicts slavery, when capital is involved, as tantamount to extortion because when one master compensates Douglass for his work, another is likely to procure that same amount, hence leaving Douglass in perpetual destitution. He states, “He would, however, when I made him six dollars, sometimes give me six cents, to encourage me. It had the opposite effect. I regarded it as a sort of admission of my right to the whole” (Douglass 117). Benevolent slave owning cannot occur when there is an injustice from, as the slave owner views it, a diminutive favor, for a slave is forced to relinquish the idea of liberation because he is...

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