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

1406 words - 6 pages

In chapter one of The Souls of Black Folk, written by W.E.B. Du Bois, the point is the Negro is born with a veil that separates him from the world of White people. This world only allows the Negro to believe that he is less than or unequal to White people because he can only see himself through the revelation of the White world, which believes they are better than him. The veil shuts the Negro out from the White world.In the first chapter of The 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 other than yourself. In addition, Du Bois wishes to make it possible for a man to be both a Negro and an American without the association of negativity. Also, he explains that the nation wants Black people to be content with being servants; therefore, Black people are still seeking freedom. According to Du Bois Negroes are working toward human brotherhood, through the ideal of race.In this chapter Du Bois focuses on the veil, which he says every American is born with. This veil acts as a separation of the Negro from the White world. It separates the Negro from many opportunities afforded to White people. Moreover, the veil acts as a point of difference. The point of difference is a symbol that the person behind the veil is different from everyone who is not behind the veil. Because a veil covers and hides the person behind it, that person can only be seen through the veil. Therefore, a person without a veil, looking at someone with a veil, will look at the person with the veil and see someone who is different from them because the veil creates a different appearance for the person who is behind it. Thus, the veil is a point of difference.Du Bois focuses on the veil to show why the Negro views himself as being unequal to the White world. This feeling comes from a suboptimal world view, which is a fragmented, non-cohesive, non-coherent worldview. In addition this feeling is stirred by a dichotomous logic, which means using external criteria to determine your self-worth. These external criteria include, but are not limited to: skin color; gender; and a family history of material wealth. When the Negro uses this comparison method he will always feel that he is less than White people. He will feel this way because these external criteria are viewed by White people as the requirements for being somebody worth having a positive interaction with. This is the White worlds' requirement not the Negroes'; therefore, he is unequal because the scale is not his own and is not fit for him. Du Bois writes, "...this sense of always looking at one's self through the eyes of others,...

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