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Unformatted text preview: At the height of his poetic power, Cullen wrote his masterpiece, "Heritage," a beguiling, lyric odyssey set in a hypnotic three-beat line. Evocative and moody, the rhapsodic journey takes the speaker on a mental tour of Africa's beauty. Along the coast on paths echoing bird voices, he enters jungle bowers. With careless ease, the speaker ponders beasts of the savannahs and the black lovers who couple freely in "tall defiant grass." Without specifying a fault, the speaker makes a pun on lie, meaning "recline" and "falsify," in token of his or her concealment of Negro heritage. By deliberately shutting out the jungle thrum, the speaker rejects the blackness that courses through the speaker's veins like a bloodtide that threatens to overwhelm human control. Combining wry commentary with mysticism, the viewer, paging through a book on Africa, muses...
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- Fall '08