Please answer original forum with a minimum of 250 words
Respond to both students on separate pages with a minimum of 100 words each
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page1- Original Forum with References
page2- David Response
Take a look at the Literary Timeline in Lessons. Choose any work that we have read in this class and examine some of the historical events preceding its publication, according to the timeline. Discuss how one or more historical event that takes place no more than 20 years before the publication of the work might be seen as influencing the theme or overall message of the work. (Langston Hughes “I too”)
Part 2: “Yet Do I Marvel” contains many classical references. Look up the meaning of one of them. Explain what that reference contributes to your understanding of the poem. How does it relate to the overall message?
Part 3: “The Negro Speaks of Rivers” also connects a people to a symbol that is timeless and ‘of the earth’. This is not the first work we’ve seen that discusses rivers. Water is a symbol in many works. Discuss how it appears in Hughes’s poem and in two other works we’ve read this term; what does water seem to represent in these works?
In 1919, racial tensions were extremely high. The 1919 race riots were sparked because of the drowning of an African American teenager. This was done by a white man who the police refused to arrest and prosecute. During this time, African Americans were considered second class citizens and their rights were diminished due to segregation. The racial tensions of this time period heavily influenced Langston Hughes’s poem “I, Too”. Hughes speaks about being the “darker brother” of America, which is attributed not only him being black, but also his second class citizen position. He also states that “they”, meaning white people, send him to the kitchen to eat. This also reinforces the influence of the historical events of segregation and racial tension. The use of “they” clearly represents the racial divide in the country.
In “Yet Do I Marvel”, Countee Cullen uses classical references of Tantalus and Sisyphus, who are depicted in Greek mythology. These two individuals were tortured by the Gods. Tantalus was doomed to starve and thirst for eternity beneath a fruit tree he could never reach and stand in a pool he could never drink. Sisyphus was chained for eternity. Cullen uses these two references to demonstrate challenges that God may bring to us in which we believe are cruel. He acknowledges the fact that we may not know the reason for these challenges because we are not supposed to know. Because of everything God does in life Cullen marvels at whether they are viewed as good or bad.
In Langston Hughes’s poem “The Negro Speaks of Rivers”, he uses the rivers and water symbolic for his blood and his African American heritage. He lists the different rivers of the world and how they are linked to his people’s history. Another story in which water is used is Stephen Crane’s “The Open Boat”. Water in this story is used differently in which is used as a force of nature and an obstacle for the men to overcome. Sara Teasdale also uses water in her poem “There will come Soft Rain” as a symbol of the beauty of nature and how nature would not care if men were gone.
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