Claude Mckay

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Claude McKay faced extreme racism in the early 20th century yet he fought back and expressed himself with his poetry. Not always exposed to segregation, he was born into a loving family on September 15, 1889 in Sunny Ville, Jamaica. At a very young age, his brother, Uriah Theophilus McKay, began tutoring him in classical literature, communism, and famous writers. Claude spent hours reading William Shakespeare and Charles Dickens in his brother’s library. His neighbor Walter Jekyll also helped introduce literature, specifically German texts, into his life. Claude used his knowledge on writing to create texts that were synonymous to those of the English ones he read. It was Walter Jekyll who finally encouraged him to expand his borders and write in his native dialect (Biography in Context). Claude’s first encounter with racism was when he …show more content…
McKay's tone in this poem is very bold. The words that he chose show that he is explaining a dark and disturbing topic. The way each line is constructed sounds very formal and old-fashioned. McKay exclaims "Oh, let us nobly die…” (McKay 5) which is a phrase that isn’t spoken in everyday conversations. It sounds almost knightley, and therefore old-fashioned, because people usually associate the word “noble” and “die” with soldiers in combat. These types of phrases are used to compare old fashioned war to the current, non-combative war between two races. This makes the poem sound as if it were a battle cry. The poem is written in a sonnet form to make the narrator seem gentlemanly and professional (Marcellus Blount). The diction makes the poem sound more serious and even depressing. By using this tone of formality, it helps create the meaning behind this poem, that black people are being dealt with a great injustice and it’s a very serious

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