The Tool Of Hate Essay

983 words - 4 pages

On the surface, hate is a representation of extreme dislike. However, hatred is much more than this; hate is a passion that grows and blossoms inside someone as anger until it reaches its final form. The poems “America” and “The White City” by Claude McKay convey the complex experiences and feelings of African Americans in America in the early 1900s (Arp and Johnson 253, 254). In both of these poems, McKay demonstrates this feeling of hatred through varying poetic devices and tools. In America during the time these poems were written, African Americans were combated with issues of segregation and inequality. The poem “America” describes African American feelings toward the country of ...view middle of the document...

The author changes the tone when the speaker says he loves America. This remark suggests positive feelings toward America. Along with this, he says that America gives him strength. The speaker at first feels malice toward America but now feels strengthened as a result of his hate. This poem is especially rich in metaphors. For example, “bread of bitterness” (America 1) is a metaphor for the African Americans’ feelings toward their constraint, and”bigness sweeps my being” is a metaphor for how America is a large country, and as an individual, it is hard to introduce change to the masses without being “flooded” (America 7) out, or muted by overwhelming population. The use of these many metaphors contributes to the overall image presented to readers and helps to accurately show African Americans’ emotions to their oppression in America. In the poems conclusion, McKay leaves his audience in suspense when he contemplates the uncertainty of America’s future. He ends the poem with the illusion that America could “sink.”(America 2). The qualities that make America great could cease to exist. His ending is suspenseful in that it causes readers to think about the situation and how negative actions taken by a country impact its future. McKay is right-- everything is uncertain.
The poem “The White City” takes a different route in illustrating the African American experience. This poem focuses more specifically on individual battles versus collective battles in “America”. Like the previous poem, the tone in “The White City” shifts throughout the writing; however, the switch is subtle. Toward the beginning, the tone is soft and light when the speaker describes how he will not take action against segregation and unequal treatment by burrowing his feelings in his “heart.”(White 2) In around the middle of the passage, the speaker says he physically seems hollow or worthless to others, but in actuality, he is filling himself with “dark Passion,”...

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