The Harlem Renaissance And Slave Narratives

1736 words - 7 pages

The Harlem Renaissance began around the 1920’s and was the hub of African American artistic endeavors, with less discrimination, more freedom, and amazing strides in politics and economics which was very different from how the slaves lived and hoped, but there still were similarities like a will for a better life, and hope for the future which both embraced even though they were in a dreadful position. Of course there also are differences, in this case that Harlem writers and artist were more educated and saw education as a stair way towards progress and equality, where the slave authors didn’t have education and didn’t care about it, the second difference is their purpose and their audience which are both different in the slave narratives and in the Harlem Renaissance.

No matter of their differences in knowledge and power both the Harlem Renaissance writers and slave narratives showed the will for a better life and hope for the future, which they hoped to make better. Writers like Langston Hughes who were from the Harlem renaissance and were educated writers wrote poems like “I, Too” which talks about how the black man shall one day sit on the dinner table with the white folks, even though they have mistreated him. An example of this is “Tomorrow, I’ll be at the table when company comes, nobody’ll dare say to me eat in the kitchen then, besides they’ll see how beautiful I am and be ashamed.” Frederick Douglass gives us an example of the will for a better life, and hope for the future in his narrative when he writes this, after his fight with Mr. Covey: “It rekindled the few expiring embers of freedom, and revived within me a sense of my own manhood. It recalled the departed self-confidence, and inspired me again with a determination to be free. The gratification afforded by the triumph was a full compensation for whatever else might follow, even death itself.” These few lines show us readers how the slaves in these slave narratives felt and what they hoped and wished, which was very similar to the Harlem renaissance writers’ hopes and feelings. Zora Neale Hurston was a very important Harlem renaissance writer, who shows us the important similarities of hope for a better future and a will for better life, but also shows us that she like Frederick Douglass was proud of herself, of who she was and how she looked. “It is a bully adventure and worth all that I have paid through my ancestors for it. No one on earth ever had a greater chance for glory. The world to be won and nothing to be lost.” In these sentences Hurston tells that his path has been hard, not only his, but for her ancestors also and that now she has a chance to become some one in the world, who other people will not be able to belittle. Seeing the three examples, we can see the differences of the two educated Harlem renaissance writers and the uneducated slave narrative.

Education not only allowed the Harlem Renaissance writers to use more sophisticated words or to come to...

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