harlem dancer

harlem dancer - A Poem of McKay's "Harlem Dancer"...

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A Poem of McKay’s “Harlem Dancer” During the Harlem Renaissance (early 1900's), in a certain section of New York called Harlem, there was a dramatic change in African-American literature, forms of art, music, and dance. Being one of the poets of this specific time period, Claude McKay wrote about the daily struggles of African American people. Although the initial lines of "Harlem Dancer" start out with a cheery spirit, toward the end, the mood of the poem slowly changes, as the speaker of the poem realizes the fact that the Harlem dancer is rather depressed by the situation she is in. The theme of this specific poem is the Harlem dancer’s desire to disguise her true feelings towards her environment, and her daily struggles. In the first quatrain, where the audience’s point of view is portrayed, the cheerful tone of the poem is easy to notice. The spectators see the dancer purely as a way of entertainment, as they watch her body move. Certain word choices of McKlay, such as "swaying" of the dancer's body, make it easy for us to think outside the words. The usage of "sway" connotes the movement of the leaves on trees, or fragile objects in nature; it is implied that the Harlem dancer is, in fact, fragile although perfectly beautiful on the outside, her "half-clothed body." In the second quatrain, we are more exposed to the speaker’s viewpoint of the performer who dances gracefully and seems more like a goddess to the speaker, with "the
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harlem dancer - A Poem of McKay's "Harlem Dancer"...

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