Analysis Of Between The World And Me By Ta-Neehisi Coates

Improved Essays
Poetic Justice
Being black in America is an onerous task, and author Ta-Nehisi Coates understands. Coates writes an evocative letter to his son as well as the world with the book, Between the World and Me. This letter guides the reader through a pathway of Coates’ self-discovery as a black man, a black activist and a black writer. Coates provides insightful revelations on his own personal struggle for his body as well as the struggles of those around him through childhood anecdotes and memories from his life at Howard University. As an avid reader of black literature and black history, Coates also contributes historical context for the conception of oppression and race. This letter allows Coates to provide a discourse regarding the idea of
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Coates not only read poetry by a wide array of black poets from Ethelbert Miller to Carolyn Forche, but he also wanted to master “the craft of writing as the art of thinking”(51). By reading and writing poetry as well as engaging himself in the black poetry community, Coates began to see “discord, argument, chaos, perhaps even fear, as a kind of power”(52). This exemplifies how black narratives such as poetry and Hip-hop empowered him and helped him understand further how the black body and the black mind are entrapped in the American society. This meditation through poetry propels Coates’ questioning of how “the Dream is the enemy of all art, courageous thinking and honest writing”(50). Since the dream is fueled by generalizations, black poetry’s simplicity and truthfulness defies that. Its truths “carried the black body beyond slogans and gave it color and texture”(52). The Dream glosses over the pain that exists upon the backs of every African American, because the Dream induces this view that the struggle of the black community exists as one single narrative. In actuality, every black American has a different experience with racism. All of their experiences are valid and worthy of discussion. Coates appreciates works such as Robert Hayden’s “Middle Passage” because they convey to the audience a perceptible sense of pain that’s real and not imagined (51). This poem especially showed him how unornamented words could evoke raw and intense emotions. Although Coates never experienced the journey of a slave through the Middle Passage, the palpable fear and hatred that transcend through Hayden’s words resonated with him and his childhood memories of Baltimore. This realization depicts to the audience how the black narrative is timeless. The appearance of racism has morphed over generations, but black people still lack control of their bodies, as Coates reiterates many times.

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