Countee Cullen: Poem Analysis

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Countee Cullen’s story is one of miracles. He was an orphaned black man in a world that was working against him. However, through these hardships that were out of his control, Cullen thrived and succeeded past expectations. His poetry astounded the world, and broke barriers that seperated America. Cullen had a tragic start to his life. He was adopted at a young age after losing his parents and brother. In 1928, he married Yolande Du Bois, who came from a well-known family (Biography.com). However, the marriage ended in 1930 when they got divorced. It was later rumored that Countee and Harold Jackson had developed a relationship (Wikipedia). Countee Cullen has a baffling backstory. It’s one that has had many beginnings, as Cullen has claimed …show more content…
In this, Cullen acknowledges the strong effects of poetry on American, and how much of an impact poetry has made in issues and history. He says that the Scottsboro case is also a cause worth fighting for through poetry. However, Cullen points out that the poets of America aren’t paying attention to the Scottsboro boys, and they haven’t been fighting for them even though their cases were changing history. The Scottsboro case is one that changed history for black men in court. Nine black teenage boys got into a fight with white men and woman, and ended up being convicted of rape (History). While they all started out being to the death sentence, many ended up getting a jail sentence, and some got out of jail in a few years (History). Their cases started out in a small Alabama town, but gained nationwide attention as the Supreme Court overruled the courts sentences (History). It showed how black men in court were treated horribly and weren’t treated with justice. The poem starts out with an AABB rhyme schemes, and then changes to ABAB for two other stanzas in the poem. The title in this poem is the only indicator of what Cullen is referencing: the Scottsboro boys court cases. The poem is also like the theme of this poem, with Cullen expressing that the Scottsboro boys also deserved to be fought for. This poem uses a lot of symbolism, so translating it on a literal level is difficult. Cullen …show more content…
This poem is about a black and white boy who walk arm and arm together, though the general population disapproves of this. They walk in pride, though the people in the neighbouring houses glare at them and are angry towards them. However, the boys disregard what everyone else thinks, and keep walking anyway. When this poem was published (1925), racism was a real and present issue in America. With segregation legal and white and blacks barely being able to be seen together, Countee’s poem is one of breaking barriers. Homosexuality was also seen as a severe sin, and wasn’t something that was present to the average person’s eyes, though it’s not for certain if this poem is supposed to convey a romantic feeling between the two boys (About). The rhyme scheme for the whole poem is ABAB. Tableau can be described as, “a picturesque grouping of persons or objects; a striking scene”. This is a direct metaphor for what this poem is depicting. The boys walking arm and arm in a segregated world is indeed a striking scene. So, what the poem describes is, in itself, a tableau. The beginning of the poem describes two boys of different races walking arm and arm, and then contrasts the day and night. He mentions “dark” and “fair” people judging the boys and their unison, but the boys not giving a care. At the end, he describes lightning and thunder blowing up the sky. The black boy and white boy in this poem

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