Analysis Of Claude Mckay 's `` If We Must Die ' Essay

801 Words Nov 27th, 2016 4 Pages
The Harlem Renaissance was a period of time between World War 1 and World War 2 that is characterized by being a period of cultural explosion and artistic advancement of African Americans in Harlem during the time. During the 1920s to the mid- 1930s Harlem was the cultural center for young black artists and scholars. The time of the Harlem Renaissance was also a very tumultuous time racially in America. In many cases black artists and scholars used their work to reflect on the climate in America and made it their mission to get involved and speak out against the racial injustices of the time. Claude Mckay’s poem “If We Must Die” outlines the feelings and tensions between blacks and whites during the early 20th century in America. The poem is a call for blacks to stand up and fight for their rights honorably when faced with oppression.
McKay’s poem relies on similes, extended metaphor and the use of imagery to effectively convey the racial tensions at that time. The very first line of the poem is “If we must die let it not be like Hogs,” this smilie references how black people can initially seem powerless to their enemies, “the mad hungry dogs” in line 3. The white people of society are depicted as dogs having a superiority over the blacks people. Hogs aren’t generally depicted as being treated in a good manner. The second line further depicts hogs being confined to pens and haunted, further establishing white superiority in America. As the poem progresses the African…

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