Double Conciousness In The Souls Of Black Folk By W.E.B. Du Bois

1252 words - 5 pages

“BETWEEN me and the other world there is ever an unasked question: unasked by some through feelings of delicacy; by others through the difficulty of rightly framing it….instead of saying directly, How does it feel to be a problem? They say, I know an excellent colored man in my town; or, I fought at Mechanicsville; or, Do not these Southern outrages make your blood boil (Du Bois 1)?” In “The Souls of Black Folk” W.E.B. Du Bois raises awareness to a psychological challenge of African Americans, known as “double - consciousness,” as a result of living in two worlds: the world of the predominant white race and the African American community. As defined by Du Bois, double-consciousness is a:
…sense of always looking at one’s self through the eyes of others, of measuring one’s soul by the tape of a world that looks on in amused contempt and pity. One ever feels his two-ness, -an American, a Negro; two souls, two thoughts, two unreconciled strivings; two warring ideals in one dark body, whose dogged strength alone keeps it from being torn asunder. (Du Bois 1)
In other words, double-consciousness can be described as an attempt to make peace with the clashing values of African heritage and European upbringing within an African American individual. Such an obstacle has the potential to be quite damaging to one’s sense of identity. The psychological theory of double-consciousness can be explored in the writings of African American authors. The works of Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God and the first chapter of Ralph Ellison’s The Invisible Man demonstrate the challenging collision of two cultures within the protagonists shaping their identities, and surprisingly aiding them to achieve a stronger sense of self than they originally had.
In Their Eyes Were Watching God the main character, Janie, was brought up by her Nanny while living on the property of a white couple known as Mr. and Mrs. Washburn. Nanny worked as a caretaker for Mrs. Washburn, raising her grandchildren. While living in the backyard of the Washburn’s, Janie had her first visual recognition of herself after having her picture taken. Staring at the photograph, Janie asked “where is me” (Hurston 9)? Upon being pointed out in the photograph by Nellie, Mrs. Washburn’s daughter, Janie exclaimed “Ah’m colored” (Hurston 9)! Janie was shocked at the revelation that she was of a different skin color than the other children she had been living and playing with. Janie is biracial, having a black mother and a white father. She consequentially suffers the torments of the school children at the black school, who torture her about living on the property of a white family and her now absent parents. Janie’s peers remind her that the Washburn’s dogs were used to hunt her father after he was discovered having raped and impregnated Janie’s mother. From an early age, we see Janie experiencing a “second-sight in this American world” (Du Bois 1). She undergoes a feeling of...

Find Another Essay On Double-Conciousness in The Souls of Black Folk by W.E.B. Du Bois

The Souls of Black Folk by W.E.B Dubois

3106 words - 12 pages The Souls of Black Folk by W.E.B Dubois The Souls of Black Folk by W.E.B Dubois is a influential work in African American literature and is an American classic. In this book Dubois proposes that "the problem of the Twentieth Century is the problem of the color-line." His concepts of life behind the veil of race and the resulting "double-consciousness, this sense of always looking at one's self through the eyes of others," have become

W.E.B. DuBois' The Souls of Black Folk

675 words - 3 pages W.E.B. DuBois' The Souls of Black Folk W.E.B. DuBois, in The Souls of Black Folk describes the very poignant image of a veil between the blacks and the whites in his society. He constructs the concept of a double-consciousness, wherein a black person has two identities as two completely separate individuals, in order to demonstrate the fallacy of these opinions. J.S. Mill also describes a certain fallacy in his own freedom of thought, a

The Souls of Black Folk by W.E.B. DuBois

1472 words - 6 pages In W.E.B. DuBois, The Souls of Black Folk, DuBois talks about the relationship between black people and white people. DuBois through his book is trying to explain all of the obstacles black people have to go through due to racial issues. He says how a black person is made two of everything, even though they are just one normal human being and the only difference is their color. “One ever feels his two-ness,—an American, a Negro; two souls, two

Of the Coming of John by W.E.B. Du Bois

2252 words - 9 pages community to educate black students to become labor workers rather than politicians. On the other hand, W.E.B. Du Bois chose to publicly speak out against segregation and published many literary works that favored racial equality. He states in his chapter “Of the Training of Black Men” from his book The Souls of Black Folk, that a black college “must maintain the standards of popular education, it must seek the social regeneration of the Negro

W.E.B. Du Bois

2299 words - 9 pages , edited by Rayford W. Logan, Hill & Wang, 1971, pp. 249-73. Discovering Authors. Gale Group, 1999. Reproduced in Discovering Collection. Farmington Hills, Mich.: Gale Group. December, 2000. http://www.galenet.com/servlet/DC/ Du Bois, W.E.B. Souls of Black Folk(Chapters I and III). The Norton Anthology Shorter Fifth Edition. Edited by Nina Baym. W.W. Norton & Company, Inc, 1999. Washington, Booker T. Chapter XIV. The Atlanta Exposition

An Analysis of the Documentary Black Gold using the Theoretic Works of W.E.B Du Bois

3193 words - 13 pages light on current national ideologies and geopolitics worldwide. The novel itself is divided into nine chapters, of which there are sub-segments that aid the author in addressing specific concepts in the chapter. Chapter one is entitled, “Unveiling Tiwanaku’s Mystery” and details the history of the archaeological research conducted on the civilization, as well as an overview of their cultural development. The author beginnings his work by addressing

The Souls Of A Black Folk

928 words - 4 pages The novel, The Souls of Black Folk, written by the infamous, W.E.B Du Bois, is outstanding. The story commences with a grief-stricken tone of personal sovereignty.Chapter one seemed to be the most captivating of all. To begin, the presence of the shadow leads one to understand that there is a burden that is constantly present with the African American community during the post war era. The African community undergoes the process of seeing the

The Souls Of A Black Folk

928 words - 4 pages The novel, The Souls of Black Folk, written by the infamous, W.E.B Du Bois, is outstanding. The story commences with a grief-stricken tone of personal sovereignty.Chapter one seemed to be the most captivating of all. To begin, the presence of the shadow leads one to understand that there is a burden that is constantly present with the African American community during the post war era. The African community undergoes the process of seeing the

William Edward Burghardt Du Bois or W.E.B. Du Bois

3539 words - 14 pages black activism. By this time, he had become convinced that truth alone "did not encourage (or) help social reform." Du Bois the sociologist had become Du Bois the advocate. According to one writer, "The Souls of Black Folk may be seen as fixing that moment in history when the American Negro began to reject the idea of the world’s belonging to white people only." Another writer said the book had "a greater effect upon and within the Negro race in

Racial Inclusivity and Social Media and The Souls of Black Folks by W.E.B. Dubois

2419 words - 10 pages African American experience, and the progress made in the imagery of the Black person in order to reimagine African American possibility on United States soil. In order to set a foundation for exposition this work will journey into what makes this work relevant by taking a similar first person narrative that W.E.B. Dubois has in his work, The Souls of Black Folk to give the premise for this work, define an important term and attempt to embody the

Black Leaders: Booker T. Washington and William Edward Burghardt Du Bois

1815 words - 7 pages Bois were alike in few ways. They were both black leaders. They were both teachers and authors. They were also both subject to discrimination from whites. They were both spokesmen for their separate ideologies. Du Bois and Washington were polar opposites of each other in every aspect except for the reasons previously stated. They were so much so that Du Bois published a book named The Souls of Black Folk, which contained many essays criticizing

Similar Essays

The Souls Of Black Folk, By W.E.B. Du Bois

2042 words - 8 pages W.E.B. Du Bois The Souls Of Black Folk is a sentinel work both in terms of describing for the modern reader the struggle of the freed slaves in their movement from slave to truly free, but also in describing the character or soul of the black community of the time. Du Bois is very careful in his introduction of the work to point out "and, finally, need I add that I who speak here am bone of the bone and flesh of the flesh of them that live

"The Souls Of Black Folk" By W.E.B. Du Bois: The Veil, Its Significance And Meaning

1406 words - 6 pages Souls of Black Folk, W.E.B. Du Bois discusses the strange experience of the Negro being a problem. Du Bois discussed a childhood experience about how being different from other children in his class made it evident to him that he was a problem because he was different. He realized that he was blocked from their world by a veil. In chapter 1, Du Bois also discusses double consciousness, which means always looking at you through the eyes of people

The Souls Of Black Folk By Du Bois

1579 words - 6 pages Bois epitomizes the inseparability of the personal and the political; through the text of The Souls of Black Folk, Du Bois straddles two worlds and narrates his own experience. Du Bois expands on his reference to duality and the "veil" in "Of Our Spiritual Strivings" with the explanation, "It is a peculiar sensation, this double-consciousness, this sense of always looking at one's self through the eyes of others, of measuring one's soul by the

Life Behind The Veil In Du Bois' The Souls Of Black Folk

2284 words - 9 pages Life Behind the Veil in Du Bois' The Souls of Black Folk Du Bois' metaphor of double consciousness and his theory of the Veil are the most inclusive explanation of the ever-present plight of modern African Americans ever produced. In his nineteenth century work, The Souls of Black Folks, Du Bois describes double consciousness as a "peculiar sensation. . . the sense of always looking at one's self through the eyes of others, of measuring