History Essay Outline
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Date Created: 07/29/16
Jodi DeMassa Mrs. Gabriel I.Introduction paragraph: Explain three of the popular themes in 1920’s poetry. a. Context Many African Americans moved North after the Civil War and the end of the Jim Crow laws in the South with the right to vote under the fifteenth amendment. There was a great demand for African Americans to play in concerts, funerals, and ministries. Along with the African American movement in music, they grew in writing and art to address the rights they had to fight back against racial discrimination and lynching. b. Thesis statement: Popular themes of poetry in 1920 were about the Harlem Renaissance, littteral poetry and symbolic poetry, and the practice and ideology of modernism. II. 1st body paragraph: Harlem Renaissance a. Claim: Poets captured the depth of sorrow in African American blues artists in the Harlem Renaissance. b. Evidence #1: The Weary Blues byLangston Hughes Droning a drowsy syncopated tune, Rocking back and forth to a mellow croon, I heard a Negro play. Down on Lenox Avenue the other night By the pale dull pallor of an old gas light He did a lazy sway . . . He did a lazy sway . . . To the tune o' those Weary Blues. With his ebony hands on each ivory key He made that poor piano moan with melody. O Blues! Swaying to and fro on his rickety stool He played that sad raggy tune like a musical fool. Sweet Blues! Coming from a black man's soul. O Blues! In a deep song voice with a melancholy tone I heard that Negro sing, that old piano moan— "Ain't got nobody in all this world, Ain't got nobody but ma self. I's gwine to quit ma frownin' And put ma troubles on the shelf." Thump, thump, thump, went his foot on the floor. He played a few chords then he sang some more— "I got the Weary Blues And I can't be satisfied. Got the Weary Blues And can't be satisfied— I ain't happy no mo' And I wish that I had died." And far into the night he crooned that tune. The stars went out and so did the moon. The singer stopped playing and went to bed While the Weary Blues echoed through his head. He slept like a rock or a man that's dead. See more at: http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/15612#sthash.Jszaelti.dpuf c. Source: Langston Hughes. “The Weary Blues” The Weary Blues. 1997. Academy of American Poets. 24 November 2013. http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/15612 How does it support your thesis?: In “The weary blues”, Langston Hughes transitions from talking about droning the outside noise to a man singing about his sorrow of being alone. He describes the affect the blues had on the piano man, symbolizing artists from other genres and the artist himself. b. Evidence #2: To A Brown Boy That brown girl's swagger gives a twitch To beauty like a Queen, Lad, never damn your body's itch When loveliness is seen. For there is ample room for bliss In pride in clean brown limbs, And lips know better how to kiss Than how to raise white hymns. And when your body's death gives birth To soil for spring to crown, Men will not ask if that rare earth Was white flesh once, or brown. c. Source: Countee Cullen. “To A Brown Boy” To A Brown Boy. No date. All Poetry. 24 November 2013. http://allpoetry.com/poem/8497367ToABrownBoybyCountee_Cullen How does it connect?: This one talks about the art in African American girl’s bodies. When Countee Cullen says “It gives a twitch”, seems to show that society isn’t used to seeing African Americans in art because of the racial labels white people call them. III. 2nd body paragraph: a. Claim: Another common theme to write about during the 20’s was about modernism and practice. b. Evidence #3: Poetry I, too, dislike it: there are things that are important beyond all this fiddle. Reading it, however, with a perfect contempt for it, one discovers in it after all, a place for the genuine. Hands that can grasp, eyes that can dilate, hair that can rise if it must, these things are important not because a highsounding interpretation can be put upon them but because they are useful. When they become so derivative as to become unintelligible, the same thing may be said for all of us, that we do not admire what we cannot understand: the bat holding on upside down or in quest of something to eat, elephants pushing, a wild horse taking a roll, a tireless wolf under a tree, the immovable critic twitching his skin like a horse that feels a flea, the base ball fan, the statistician nor is it valid to discriminate against 'business documents and schoolbooks' ; all these phenomena are important. One must make a distinction however: when dragged into prominence by half poets, the result is not poetry, nor till the poets among us can be 'literalists of the imagination' above insolence and triviality and can present for inspection, 'imaginary gardens with real toads in them,' shall we have it. In the meantime, if you demand on the one hand, the raw material of poetry in all its rawness and that which is on the other hand genuine, you are interested in poetry. c. Source: Marianne Moore. “Poetry”. Poetry. 2005. The Norton Anthology of Poetry. 24 November 2013. http://www.wwnorton.com/college/english/nap/poetry_moore.htm How does it support your thesis? Marianne Moore explains how poetry will enlighten us because of its power to reveal important truths. This way, we will modernize old issues based off of poetry. b. Evidence #4: Boy with his hair cut short SUNDAY shuts down on this twentiethcentury evening. The L passes. Twilight and bulb define the brown room, the overstuffed plum sofa, the boy, and the girl's thin hands above his head. A neighbor radio sings stocks, news, serenade. He sits at the table, head down, the young clear neck exposed, watching the drugstore sign from the tail of his eye; tattoo, neon, until the eye blears, while his solicitous tall sister, simple in blue, bending behind him, cuts his hair with her cheap shears. The arrow's electric red always reaches its mark, successful neon! He coughs, impressed by that precision. His child's forehead, forever protected by his cap, is bleached against the lamplight as he turns head and steadies to let the snippets drop. Erasing the failure of weeks with level fingers, she sleeks the fine hair, combing: 'You'll look fine tomorrow! You'll surely find something, they can't keep turning you down; the finest gentleman's not so trim as you!' Smiling, he raises the adolescent forehead wrinkling ironic now. He sees his decent suit laid out, newpressed, his carfare on the shelf. He lets his head fall, meeting her earnest hopeless look, seeing the sharp blades splitting, the darkened room, the impersonal sign, her motion, the blue vein, bright on her temple, pitifully beating. Muriel Rukeyser c. Source: Muriel Rukeyser. “Boy With His Hair Cut Short.” Boy With His Hair Cut Short. 2010. Poem Hunter. 24 November 2013. http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/boywithhishaircutshort/ How does it connect?: This references to the difficulty in getting a job for an African American. It talks about cutting ones hair, dressing in a suit, even bleaching it to fight stereotypes of Africans in the workplace. IV. 3rd body paragraph: a. Claim: Lastly, there were the Objectives and Fugitives who wrote either literal poetry or symbolic, ironic, and complex poetry about unfortunate events. b. Evidence #5: Sweeney among the Nightingales APENECK SWEENEY spreads his knees Letting his arms hang down to laugh, The zebra stripes along his jaw Swelling to maculate giraffe. The circles of the stormy moon Slide westward toward the River Plate, Death and the Raven drift above And Sweeney guards the horned gate. Gloomy Orion and the Dog Are veiled; and hushed the shrunken seas; The person in the Spanish cape Tries to sit on Sweeney’s knees Slips and pulls the table cloth Overturns a coffeecup, Reorganized upon the floor She yawns and draws a stocking up; The silent man in mocha brown Sprawls at the windowsill and gapes; The waiter brings in oranges Bananas figs and hothouse grapes; The silent vertebrate in brown Contracts and concentrates, withdraws; Rachel née Rabinovitch Tears at the grapes with murderous paws; She and the lady in the cape Are suspect, thought to be in league; Therefore the man with heavy eyes Declines the gambit, shows fatigue, Leaves the room and reappears Outside the window, leaning in, Branches of wistaria Circumscribe a golden grin; The host with someone indistinct Converses at the door apart, The nightingales are singing near The Convent of the Sacred Heart, And sang within the bloody wood When Agamemnon cried aloud, And let their liquid droppings fall To stain the stiff dishonoured shroud. c. Source: T.S. Eliot, “Sweeney among the Nightingales” Sweeney among the Nightingales. 1993. Bartleby. 24 November 2013. http://www.bartleby.com/199/24.html How does it connect? This describes vividly of a lynching scene. It shows gloom and eeriness by describing someone getting hung while the nightingales sing near the event. It’s also saying that African Americans don’t deserve to be lynched by “dishonoured shroud” or the dishonored corpse. b. Evidence #6: Janet Waking Beautifully Janet slept Till it was deeply morning. She woke them And thought about her daintyfeathered hen, To see how it had kept. One kiss she gave her mother, Only a small one gave she to her daddy Who would have kissed each curl of his shining baby; No kiss at all for her brother. "Old Chucky, old Chucky!" she cried, Running on little pink feet upon the grass To Chucky's house, and listening. But alas, Her Chucky had died. It was a transmogrifying bee Came droning down on Chucky's bald old head And sat and put the poison. It scarcely bled, But how exceedingly And purply did the knot Swell with the venom and communicate Its rigor. Now the poor comb stood up straight. But Chucky did not. So there was Janet Kneeling on the wet grass, crying her brown hen (Translated far beyond the prayers of men) To rise and walk upon it. And weeping fast as she had breath Janet implored us, "Wake her from her sleep!" And would not be instructed in how deep Was the forgetful kingdom of Death. c. Source: John Crowe Ransom, “Janet Walking” Selected Poems by John Crowe Ransom. No date. No organization. 24 November 2013. http://xroads.virginia.edu/~hyper2/modptryanthol/ransom.html How does it connect?: She didn’t kiss the brother because he was the one who killed her hen. It seems that to Janet, Chucky was just like family. This all is symbolic of the relationship from whites and African Americans because of lynching. Conclusion: a. Draw conclusions about your topic, explain its historical significance or take a position. b. Popular poetry in the 1920’s seems to be majorly about African Americans’ sorrow from to discrimination, racial stereotypes, labels, and prejudice. Moving from the long history of slavery and lynching to being free, it’s evident that they wrote about these issues to hold the truth and address these issues.
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