The Politics Of Compromise In Claude Mckay's Protest Sonnets '

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Claude McKay was an influential leader of the Harlem Renaissance who also advocated against the racism that African-Americans receive. He wrote many works for this cause, among them was the poem “America” inside of the text of his book Harlem Shadows. People have many different thoughts and beliefs about the poems. James R. Keller tries to give his analysis of "America" along with McKay’s other works. Keller explains this in his article titled as “ ‘A Chafing Savage, Down the Decent Street’: The Politics of Compromise in Claude McKay’s Protest Sonnets”. Keller argues that McKay was using a traditional verse and content that added to the emotion and ideological background of his poem. Keller explains that McKay tries to get the support needed by adopting the literary traditions of Western civilization. This leads to him giving voice to those that are part of the group that expunged African American …show more content…
This is demonstrated in McKay 's poem “To the White Fiends”. However, McKay expresses that this belief is more suitable for the whites. McKay does this by stating in the poem, "Be not deceived, for every deed you do I could match--out-match: am I not Afric 's son" (Keller 451). In the poem, he begins with the current traditional stereotypes about African Americans. Keller injects that the tone McKay uses is threatening that if whites should believe these generalizations, then they should fear and respect them.This makes his idea of a non-violence protest stronger, because if a person forces violence, then it will lead to failure. Keller reveals to the reader that McKay is expressing that his cultures’ superior to the oppressors. To accomplish this, McKay reverses the stereotypes by portraying himself as the replacement representing the whites as vulgar and violent (Keller

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