African-American Literature Du Bois Term Paper

Pages: 4 (1160 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 3  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Black Studies

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(93) "The harder the slaves were driven the more careless and fatal was their farming. Then came the revolution of war and Emancipation, the bewilderment of Reconstruction, -- and now, what is the Egypt of the Confederacy, and what meaning has it for the nation's weal or woe?" (92-93) The message is a strong sentiment describing the history of the place, the remnants of fences and homes once opulent and plush, though not enjoyed by the laborers, still indicative of care and prosperity, now only a skeleton of history rotting into the ground or roughly rebuilt to house a worker who simply has nowhere else to go. "I think I never before quite realized the place of the Fence in civilization. This is the Land of the Unfenced, where crouch on either hand scores of ugly one-room cabins, cheerless and dirty. Here lies the Negro problem in its naked dirt and penury. And here are no fences." (89) The whole tour of the region offers a look at what Du Bois saw as the center of slavery, the seat of the south, and the ideal of the peculiar institution which to his day was still reaping its taxes on the backs of its laborers and their offspring. The message is clear, there is no joy left and what little bits one finds are exceptions still eking out happiness and minimal prosperity, often when offered a hand up by a kindly white person some years back, a white person whose kindness rarely passed a generation. "His master helped him to get a start, but when the black man died last fall the master's sons immediately laid claim to the estate." (94)Download full Download Microsoft Word File
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TOPIC: Term Paper on African-American Literature Du Bois in Assignment

The theme of the chapter and that of the later chapter "Of the Sorrow Songs" is one that attempts to demonstrate that the message of the sorrow songs, such as the song "Bright Sparkles" which serves as the epigraph of Chapter 7 is the long mournful message of the African slave, rekindled in the present to serve as a bridge of understandings. The songs to Du Bois represent the toil and trouble of living the life of a former slave and a freeman without true reconstruction and only limited infrastructure to stand on, "And so by fateful chance the Negro folksong -- the rhythmic cry of the slave -- stands to-day not simply as the sole American music, but as the most beautiful expression of human experience born this side the seas. (186)

The concept of toil and trouble as an underlying reality for black people with limited means and no structure to create upward mobility can also be seen in many other narratives from the era. Two in particular demonstrate this well, Harriet E. Wilson's Our Nig and Harriet A. Jacobs Incidents in the Life of Slave Girl. In each of these works even before they have begun the authors offer apologies that though common in many works of the day nonetheless offer glimpses into their lives of toil. In the opening of Our Nig Wilson offers the reader a glimpse into her life, "Deserted by kindred, disabled by failing health, I am forced to some experiment which shall aid me in maintaining myself and child without [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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African-American Literature Du Bois.  (2011, December 16).  Retrieved July 27, 2021, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/african-american-literature-du-bois/3645218

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"African-American Literature Du Bois."  Essaytown.com.  December 16, 2011.  Accessed July 27, 2021.
https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/african-american-literature-du-bois/3645218.