Aaron Douglas's Poem I Too

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Human history proves that societal problems of the past shape the societal problems of the future. Having the mindset to combat this is what defines someone as intellectually competent. The methodology used to combat these problems, however, is multifaceted. Aaron Douglas’s painting Let my People Go [Appendix F] does this by depicting Moses from the Bible, and his plea to the Pharaoh. The goal of this was to entice the viewers to connect the piece to contemporary issues, and see the same plea for freedom happening across the world. This embodies the Jesuit School’s Network Graduate at Graduation subgoal of intellectual competence: to have the consciousness to critically analyze matters facing the world. Through this consciousness, people can …show more content…
Being a response to Walt Whitman’s poem, “‘I, Too’ explores the duality of identity that defined black life in the United States in the 1920’s” (“I, Too.” 121). This was especially talked about in the context (“I, Too.” 103). What made Langston special was his use of culture, and how he helped other people experience it through his poetry. Professional writer and scholar with a doctorate in English Renaissance Literature Sheri Karmoil says, “In his poetry, Langston Hughes is able to depict reality in such a way that readers emerge from their reading of his poetry with knowledge about a world they may not have directly experienced in their lives” (“I, Too.” 107). Three core phrases of the poem do this. Firstly, “I, too, sing America” (line 1) gives a starter to his position. Especially in context with Whitman, he clearly shows readers that there is a fine line between him and the rest of America. Secondly, “Nobody’ll dare Say to me, ‘Eat I 'm the kitchen,’ Then.” (Line 11-14) interestingly using a futuristic lense to open up the world that African Americans experienced. This quote describes an experience that many may not experience, and his poetry allowed people to experience his feeling firsthand. Lastly, “Besides, They 'll see how beautiful I am And be ashamed --” (Line 15-17) is key. …show more content…
This poem showed a sense of longing to his old land, being now in New York. Unlike Cullen, he doesn’t open up this issue through discussing the conformity that American culture creates, but rather just a clash of cultures in general. As writer and instructor at Oakton Community College in Des Plaines, Illinois David Kelly puts it, “Although McKay does not describe the urban New York landscape in detail, we can imagine the harsh contrast of what the speaker sees looking through his downtown apartment window and what the exotic fruit reminds him of: “trees laden by low-singing rills, / And dewy dawns, and mystical blue skies” ("The Tropics in New York" 257). Discussion of culture clash and contrast is only reaffirmed with the context of the Chicago Race Riots ("The Tropics in New York" 258). He uses the fruits and enjoyment of his old land as a way to show problems of America. Using poetic imagery, he displays the greatness of his land, followed by his longing for it. This culminates in idea that America isn 't as great to him as his old ways. This allows for greater discussion that gives each reader an opportunity for their own interpretation to come into play when analyzing the poem ("The Tropics in New York" 257). The lines of the poem show this. “Bananas ripe and green, and ginger root - Cocoa in pods and alligator pears, And

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