Analysis Of W. E. Du Bois's Of The Coming Of John

Superior Essays
Dylan Halloran
English 1310
Takuya Matsuda
23 September 2016

The Divided Line
In W.E.B Du Bois’s essay “ Of the Coming of John” Du Bois offers an incite on the relationship between blacks and whites in the United States following the post Civil War era. Du Bois provides a metaphorical representation of blacks and whites through two main characters named “John”. John (Black) and John (white) are direct parallels to one another. Black John lives a more conservative lifestyle while white John lives an ignorant and privileged lifestyle. Through the two main characters the author creates two identities that black John struggles fails to associate himself with throughout the story. The author uses black John’s struggle to portray the theory of double
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The talented tenth was a theory that emphasized the importance of education. The talented tenth relates to the “ Of Coming of John” because it represents the position black John took within his community. In theory Black John was apart of the top of the 10 percent within black society. The top 10 percent would help guide the other 90 percent of black society. De Bois proves that this ideal does not work within this story. De Bois disproves this theory to show that educated African Americans were alienated within their community during the post-Civil War era due to the lack of education. Education only is effective when society as a whole influenced by …show more content…
De Bois main argument throughout the essay relates to the theory of double consciousness and the Talented tenth relates to the marginalization of blacks in American society. The author uses Black John as the primary example to show how he struggles to identify himself within white and black culture. De Bois shows that although John has his own self-perception of himself people tend to remain marginalized based upon a second set of ideals that are relative to each other. For John that was the importance of education. Education was encouraged within John’s family. In society during the post-Civil War blacks obtaining an education was seen as unnecessary. This created the double consciousness that black John struggles with throughout the essay. Once John comes back from college he finally realizes his role within both cultures. John realized that blacks could overpower the whites and overcome the social stigma if they became united as a whole. John’s double consciousness becomes apparent at the party that the family, friends, and neighbors throw for his return. He tells his community that it doesn’t matter what religion, educational, or social status you are, the more important thing was their finding their true identity and personality. Unfortunately for John the people don’t understand his beliefs and ideas because they aren’t educated. The people overturn John and view him as a

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