Theme Of In The Kitchen By Henry Louis Gates

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In the kitchen by Henry Louis Gates, Jr, is a text which reveals the struggle that African American people face with hair. It talks about himself and his friends trying to straighten their African American hair with its natural “kink” to try and conform in with other white people. The text talks mainly about hair, but the hair has another meaning. It’s about what the hair represents. The necessity for good hair shows the pressure for the African Americans to be equal with whites. It can be contended that the hair is a symbol for the Black Civil Rights movement, as this would occur at the time and setting of the text. Gates uses a variety of language techniques to develop an identity that can relate with the constant battles for African Americans. …show more content…
Gates does this through the metaphor of hair, and shows the readers what African American people experience to straighten their hair, to be the same a white people’s hair.
The struggles of African American people is clearly evident in Gates use of figurative language. Gates lets the reader determine whether the efforts to straighten hair are worthwhile. Gates uses metaphor of “My own hair was ‘not a bad grade’, as barbers cut my hair for the first time” He says that it like a doctor giving you’re a physical exam. It shows the perception that “kinky” hair is despised and unwanted by the African American people, it shows
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To leave behind the culture of underclass citizens and become part of the white society at the time. His mother was the person that did everyone’s hair. This shows that she was in favour of the equality. Gates talks about how he wants to try different ways of having his hair which shows that he wants to change too. He relates his own hair to how a good hair cut was a good grade as a child. He talks about how he has tried every brand of wax to straighten his hair. Gates sees that when he grew older how African American hair and its fascination was a harmful thing, he realized that it would lead to feelings of obsession and jealousy. He seems to come to the conclusion that even he thought the straight hair/ white hair was better and it in the end made him feel

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