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Racism and Violence in American Literature

In: English and Literature

Submitted By Bibikhanh
Words 1707
Pages 7
Racism and Violence in American Literature
Racial tension between Black and White Americans has been viewed as one of the darkest chapters in the American history. The issue has been discussed in various forms of the media during the time. Literature is one of the most efficient means where racial discrimination is described in a very vivid yet precise way. The story “That Evening Sun” by William Faulkner and the play “Dutchman” by Amiri Baraka are two of several works of American literature that addresses the matter. Regardless of their different genres, these two works have employed many poetic devices such as metaphor, imagery, symbolism and repetition in order to address several subjects that belong to the core of human baseness: racism, abuse, sexuality, exploitation and murder which can be summed in the category of violence. “Dutchman” by Amiri Baraka, which was shown for the first time in 1964, is a play that addresses strongly the racial tension between Black and White Americans. The play has used several symbols and metaphor to serve the author’s purpose of describing the extreme hostility and dirty temptation that the implausible female character, Lula, has exposed to the young black man, Clay. The apple that Lula eats can be viewed as a symbol of sexuality and indulgence that are considered illegal or immoral. “You want this? [...] Eating apples together is always the first step. Or walking up uninhabited Seventh Avenue in the twenties on the weekends. [...] Would you like to get involved with me, Mister Man?” (Dutchman scene I). The image of Lula biting the apple and offering Clay an apple at the beginning of the play in a very tempting way towards Clay tells the readers that something wrong could happen later in the play. Clay’s downfall with the apple signifies his blindness by Lula’s beauty and therefore; the devastating consequence he would get at...

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