Analysis Of Amiri Baraka's 'An Agony As Now'
As Now" (Lauter 2642-43), the speaker expresses the oppressive experience of one viewing one's self from the perspective of one who despises him. Previously, the speaker had attempted to escape the reality of his duality by subconsciously (or consciously) abandoning the "soul [he] had/and abandoned when [he] was blind and had/[his] enemies [whites] carry [him] as a dead man" [lines 16-18], or that which would exist within the veil. The speaker's attempt to escape the curse of double consciousness is unsuccessful. Instead, he revolts. The speaker must make the choice between "Flesh or souls" [lines 32-3], or at the very least, recognize the inherent conflict between the two. The poem opens with an honest and caring reflection. "I am inside someone/who hates me. I look/out from his eyes/. Smell what fouled turnes come in/to his breath. Love his/wretched women [1-6]" With pointed eloquence, Baraka narrates the experience of a Black man in American who has internalized the view of white America. He views himself as hegemonic society does. The African American victimized in this matter can only despise himself. Truly, the speaker lives "within a world which yields him no true self consciousness, but only lets him see himself through the revelation of the other world" [Du Bois, 3]. Constricted by the view the world holds of him, the speaker observes through "slits in the metal. . . Where/[his] eyes sit turning,. . "[8,9]. The speaker is experiencing …show more content…
As Now" is an exploration of the twisted reality in which America's disowned stepchild exists. The realization of the fact that one's self-view is dominated by the hate of another is, in fact, the realization of one's existence behind the veil. It is at that exact moment (regardless of one's age or experience) that this phenonmenon becomes apparent. In The Souls of Black Folks, Du Bois narrates the shock of this experience (which at some point must occur for all African Americans), and the manifestation of this awareness during his youth.
"Then it dawned upon me with a certain suddenness that I was different from the others, or like, mayhap, in heart and life and longing, but shut out from their world by a vast veil, I had thereafter no desire to tear down that veil, to creep through; I held all beyond it in common contempt, and lived above it in a region of blue sky and great wandering shadows. That sky was bluest when I could beat my mates at examination-time, or beat them at a foot-race, or beat their stringy heads" [emphasis added] (Du Bois,