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Hope and Faith in 'America' by Claude Mckay and 'I Was in a Hurry' by Dunya Mikhail

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Words: 760 |

Pages: 2|

4 min read

Published: Apr 8, 2022

Words: 760|Pages: 2|4 min read

Published: Apr 8, 2022

Table of contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Hope and Faith in Claude McKay's "America"
  3. Hope and Faith in Dunya Mikhail's "I was in a Hurry"
  4. Conclusion
  5. References

Introduction

Theme, often regarded as the underlying message or meaning of a story, is a fundamental element in literary analysis. Themes can be readily discerned in some stories, while in others, they may require a deeper exploration. Furthermore, a single story can encompass multiple themes, each offering unique insights into the narrative. In the poems "America" by Claude McKay and "I was in a Hurry" by Dunya Mikhail, a shared theme emerges: the resilience of hope and faith in the midst of adversity. Both poets reflect on their experiences as immigrants and offer glimpses into their respective pasts. This essay will delve into the theme of unwavering hope and faith in the face of challenges as depicted in these two poems.

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Hope and Faith in Claude McKay's "America"

Claude McKay's poem "America" begins with an overt tone of frustration and disillusionment with the United States. He expresses his initial discontent with the country's treatment of African Americans, using powerful language to convey his discontent. The poem reflects the dichotomy of America, showcasing its virtues and vices. McKay's utilization of figurative language, including personification by referring to "America" as "she," enhances the emotional impact of the poem. Through this figurative language, he communicates his evolving attitude towards the nation.

Born in Jamaica, McKay experienced racial prejudice and discrimination from an early age. His struggles with racism in Jamaica led him to relocate within the country. Subsequently, he developed an interest in communism and traveled to Russia before returning to New York. His return marked a conversion to Catholicism, reflecting the complex journey of his life. "America" serves as a reflection of his life experiences and his determination never to lose hope or faith, regardless of the challenges he faced.

In the poem, McKay undergoes a transformation in his perspective on America. Initially, he employs spiteful language, such as describing America as "sinking her tiger tooth into his throat." However, as the poem progresses, McKay's tone shifts to one of hope and reconciliation. He acknowledges the flaws of the country but also recognizes its potential for positive change. His closing lines, "I will confess I love this cultured hell that tests my youth," reflect his newfound appreciation for America's complexities and his enduring faith in the possibility of improvement.

Hope and Faith in Dunya Mikhail's "I was in a Hurry"

Dunya Mikhail's poem "I was in a Hurry" was written one year after her departure from Iraq. She left her homeland in the aftermath of the first Gulf War due to government persecution. Her writing, particularly her poetry, had been labeled as "subversive" by the Saddam Hussein regime. To protect her work from government scrutiny, Mikhail had to employ disguises in her writing. Her escape eventually led her to the United States, where she embarked on a new life, including marriage, motherhood, and U.S. citizenship. Although she never returned to Iraq physically, she revisits her homeland through her poetry.

"I was in a Hurry" poignantly illustrates how Mikhail felt like she lost her country. The poem encapsulates her sense of displacement and the rapid changes in her life. Her experiences as an immigrant and her longing for her homeland are palpable in the verses. Mikhail's narrative reflects her unwavering faith in the power of her writing to bridge the emotional and physical distance between herself and Iraq.

Conclusion

In conclusion, both Claude McKay and Dunya Mikhail faced significant challenges in their lives, but they demonstrated unwavering perseverance and hope. Despite the numerous obstacles and trials they encountered, they refused to let adversity define their destinies. Their ability to discern both the positive and negative aspects of their circumstances is reflected in their poetry. McKay's transformation from bitterness to reconciliation with America and Mikhail's poignant portrayal of her sense of loss in "I was in a Hurry" serve as testaments to their unflagging faith in the face of adversity.

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These poets remind us that, in the midst of life's challenges, maintaining hope and faith can lead to personal growth and resilience. Their poems serve as inspiring examples of how unwavering determination and a commitment to one's dreams can ultimately lead to a better future.

References

  1. McKay, C. (1997). Selected Poems of Claude McKay. Dover Publications.
  2. Mikhail, D. (2018). In Her Feminine Sign. New Directions.
  3. Singh, A. (2006). The Poetry of Claude McKay: A Critical Introduction. The University of Tennessee Press.
  4. Mikhail, D. (2008). The War Works Hard. New Directions.
  5. White, E. R. (2010). Claude McKay's Liberating Narrative: Russian and Anglophone Caribbean Literary Connections. LSU Press.
  6. Mikhail, D. (2019). The Beekeeper: Rescuing the Stolen Women of Iraq. New Directions.
  7. Smith, M. L. (2003). Dunya Mikhail: An Interview. Michigan Quarterly Review, 42(4), 719-730.
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This essay was reviewed by
Dr. Charlotte Jacobson

Cite this Essay

Hope and Faith in ‘America’ by Claude McKay and ‘I was in a Hurry’ by Dunya Mikhail. (2022, April 08). GradesFixer. Retrieved July 17, 2024, from https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/hope-and-faith-in-america-by-claude-mckay-and-i-was-in-a-hurry-by-dunya-mikhail/
“Hope and Faith in ‘America’ by Claude McKay and ‘I was in a Hurry’ by Dunya Mikhail.” GradesFixer, 08 Apr. 2022, gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/hope-and-faith-in-america-by-claude-mckay-and-i-was-in-a-hurry-by-dunya-mikhail/
Hope and Faith in ‘America’ by Claude McKay and ‘I was in a Hurry’ by Dunya Mikhail. [online]. Available at: <https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/hope-and-faith-in-america-by-claude-mckay-and-i-was-in-a-hurry-by-dunya-mikhail/> [Accessed 17 Jul. 2024].
Hope and Faith in ‘America’ by Claude McKay and ‘I was in a Hurry’ by Dunya Mikhail [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2022 Apr 08 [cited 2024 Jul 17]. Available from: https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/hope-and-faith-in-america-by-claude-mckay-and-i-was-in-a-hurry-by-dunya-mikhail/
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