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The Issue of Racism and Slavery in Claude Mckay’s Enslaved

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Introduction

Claude McKay is one of the writers Americans who have an identity background very close to oppression and struggle and wrong one poet and novelist at the forefront of the Harlem movement The Renaissance voiced folk voices black minority of Americans in the 1920s. The poem Enslaved writes a lot about what blacks experienced at that time, how they were treated like not a human being they were oppressed and enslaved, their property was taken by white people which made them hate white people. This essay will discuss about issues from this poem more deeply.

Summary

In the poem ‘Enslaved’ by Claudia Mckay illustrates how difficult the life of the African-American race, about what they are going through now, and what they feel about the presentation of white people to them. For centuries they were despised, oppressed and enslaved like no humans. Race which has been oppressed and enslaved by whites and at present they have a little more freedom but must deal with racism. So, enslaved and garnished, rejected by the white man’s place hundreds of years ago, and robbed in the ancient country of his birth, enslaved by Europeans and then Americans and treated as if they were all not human. Then the writer expresses his feelings all and perhaps many other african-americans about this, they feel hate. So this poem shows the bright and dark parts of African-American life. And this writer shows how much they suffered to achieve goals like freedom and stop racism a little bit. To show that the black race was able to do things white people could do and they were also human.

Analysis

“Oh when I think of my long-suffering race,

For weary centuries despised, oppressed,

Enslaved and lynched, denied a human place

In the great life line of the Christian West;”

The poem Enslaved talks about the history of colonialism. In the words ‘Race that has been suffering for a long time’ in my opinion is like talking about the life of Mckay who at that time was long colonized by European influence. How in the centuries they were oppressed and enslaved. And in the word ‘Christian West’ it seems to refer to the religion adopted by the European invaders. So, this is an event which for centuries feels tiring. ‘ and this race was oppressed and enslaved by whites and at that time they had a little more freedom but now they have to deal with racism. Then, enslaved and hanged, denied the place of humans by white people hundreds of years ago, they are enslaved sifted like not a human.

“And in the Black Land disinherited,

Robbed in the ancient country of its birth,

My heart grows sick with hate, becomes as lead,

For this my race that has no home on earth.”

The meaning of the word ‘Black Land Disinherited’ is a line filled with strong meanings. The word ‘disinherited’ mainly speaks of racist policy injustice. How someone’s inheritance was just taken away and didn’t think about the interests of others so that Mckay felt so angry, hated that they didn’t have a home. Usually, if someone seizes someone’s ownership of the land, the person who relinquishes the ownership must actually own the land.

in this Enslaved poem tells a deep sadness. For narrators, their hearts have been closed. Sadness had passed for them, and now was fed up with the unbearable burden of hatred. Hate, they have learned hatred, and feel it when they think of their house being stolen cruelly and horribly.

“Then from the dark depths of my soul I cry

To the avenging angel to consume

The white man’s world of wonders utterly:

Let it be swallowed up in earth’s vast womb,

Or upward roll as sacrificial smoke

To liberate my people from its yoke!

At the end of Enslaved, we see the sadness go away, and Mckay can express their hatred ‘avenging angels’ it seems like this word is a word that means freedom from enslavement. to see the world of their oppressors consumed in its entirety and destroyed, believing it to be the only way that racism, slavery, and oppression could finally be lifted from the world. Their people will only be free, according to the last two lines, once the ‘white man’ world is completely destroyed.

Issue from this story

The main issue from this poem is racism and slavery. because the writer wrote a lot about what he experienced at that time how they were treated like not a human being they were oppressed and enslaved, their property was confiscated which made them hate white people. As in this poem:

‘“Oh when I think of my long-suffering race,

For weary centuries despised, oppressed,

Enslaved and lynched, 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,

My heart grows sick with hate, becomes as lead,

Conclusion

McKay’s poem is a document and historical witnesses of discrimination and oppression from one race to another. And this poem gives the spirit of struggle to justice and equality for the oppressed, as well make the reader aware and will awaken arbitrariness around them. Claude’s poem McKay also showed strategy in fighting racial discrimination and injustice. What is needed is not just physical strength, however, we must begin question and fight that foundation make discrimination happen, that is discourse or ethnocentric thinking patterns and the excesses of the economic system that capitalism makes humans are like goods. Racism and physical or mental slavery, is not something to be thankful for. However it is a problem that must be constantly questioned, anticipated, and addressed.

References

  • Giles, Freda S. “Claude’s McKay’s Life”. Modern American Poetry. University of Illinois. (2000) http://www.english.uiuc.edu/maps/poets/m_r/mckay/life.htm
  • Bekker, Eddie. “Chronology On The History Of Slavery And Racism 1830 –The End”. A Chronology of American Slavery. (1999). http://innercity.org/holt/chron_1830_end.html

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The Issue Of Racism And Slavery In Claude Mckay’s Enslaved. (2021, August 06). GradesFixer. Retrieved August 6, 2022, from https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/the-issue-of-racism-and-slavery-in-claude-mckays-enslaved/
“The Issue Of Racism And Slavery In Claude Mckay’s Enslaved.” GradesFixer, 06 Aug. 2021, gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/the-issue-of-racism-and-slavery-in-claude-mckays-enslaved/
The Issue Of Racism And Slavery In Claude Mckay’s Enslaved. [online]. Available at: <https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/the-issue-of-racism-and-slavery-in-claude-mckays-enslaved/> [Accessed 6 Aug. 2022].
The Issue Of Racism And Slavery In Claude Mckay’s Enslaved [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2021 Aug 06 [cited 2022 Aug 6]. Available from: https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/the-issue-of-racism-and-slavery-in-claude-mckays-enslaved/
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