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A Theme of Discrimination in Enslaved by Claude Mckay

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According to Cary D. Wintz, Harlem Rennaisance was a literary movement whose practical and chronological limits are difficult to be defined. The Harlem era symbolized that black people were freed from slavery. They could fight for their way of life. They have an opportunity to get the education also because in the past, they got oppresion, slavery and many others that is considered as inhumane behavior. Claude McKay was one of American literary in Harlem era. He expressed the voice of the blacks’ minorites. He lived in era when the discrimination of race still existed. However, the slavery had been removed after civil war had done in 1865, the black people still considered as lower class in the society at that time. His background as black people surely influenced his literature work that talked about unfairness race. One of his works was Enslaved. The poem talks about the black people that got oppression by white people because they thought that they were superior and black people were behind them and the hope of black people to get their freedom for their life both in their birth place or in other place.

Oh whenI think of my long-sufferinh race,

For weary cennturies despised, oppressed,

Enslaved and lynched, denied a human place

In the great life line of the Christian West

Those lines express what the black people feel for long time about the white people treatment to them. They were not treated well by white people in words despised, oppresed, enslaved and lynchied. White people’s religion was considered as the most true and the best religion than other and the black people’s religion deserve to be discarded in words denied a human place. In the great life line of the Christian West.

And in the Black Land disinherited,

Robbed in the ancient country of its birth,

Those lines talk that in their hometown, Africa, their liberties was taken, they did not have anything, inspite of in their birthplace. All things were dominated by white people then the black people only became their slave, served them by what they should have like natural resource that should be had by black people become being had by white people. Then, black people become slave, take the resource and give it to the white people. Finally, they did not get something balance with something they give to white people or it can be their way of life that was powered by white people. They should do and should not do everything what white people commanded. It was the colonialism that was done by white people

My heart grows sick with hate, becomes as lead,

For this my race that has no home on earth

Those lines show the hatred feeling of the writer to white people. They take black people home, so the black people do not have any safe place for living. Then, when the black people were displaced from their hometown and lived in another place, they did not have any peacefulness there. They got more suffering by white people, that is why the writter says that his race has no home on earth.

Then from the dark depths of my soul i cry

To the Avenging angel to consume

The white man’s world of wonders utterly:

The writter shows his sadness from his heart about the treatment that black people were got. He also revealed that he wanted to avenge The white man’s world of wonders utterly. It can represent as the injustice treatment or the policy of white people to the black people. he wanted to fight the white people by removing the policy of white people made that degrade the black people, so that they will not act arbitrarily toward to the black people

Let it be swallowed up in earth’s vast womb

Or upward roll as sacrificial smoke

To liberate my people from its yoke!

The writter revealed his hope for his race, The writter wanted the oppresion toward to the black people could be dissapear in words swallowed up in the earth’s vast womb, or upward roll as sacrificial smoke with the result that the black people would get their freedom and could life with peaceful feeling, did not afraid of their status of life that always got oppresion and could live together with other races.

All in all, this poem is about the feeling of being discriminated of their race for long time, the colonialism that was done by white people to the black people, the hatred feeling of discrimination, the hope for having safe place to live, the desire to fight the discrimination and the hope of black people that wants a freedom, the same treatment as human, and the justice for their life. This poem shows to us the struggle of the writter, Claud McKay to get the justice for his race that got discrimination through the poem he published that contains the voice of black people and this poem also describes how the black people life before they get the freedom for their life.


  • Adewumi & Samuel, I. (2014). Thematic Trends in Claude McKay’s Selected Poems of The Harlem Era. International Journl of Education & Literacy Studies. 2(2): 1-16.
  • Rizano, Gindo. 2014. Analisis terhadap Dua Puisi Penyair Amerika Claude Mckay: Penelusuran Seluk-Beluk Kekuasaan Ras. Scientific Journal of Linguistic, Literature and Language Education. 3(1): 21-24.

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