arlt paper 1

arlt paper 1 - Keya Agarwal ARLT 100 35327- Paris Noir...

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Keya Agarwal ARLT 100 – 35327- Paris Noir Music Culture and Poetic Expression Given the debates in cultural values, political strategies, and musical practices that mark the Harlem renaissance’s emergence, offer a close-reading analysis of one poem’s representation of musical culture. Focus your essay on a specific poetic image, figure, theme etc. using techniques we’ve been working on in class and homework. Illuminate how the poet’s work articulates his/her position in the debates about musical culture we’ve been discussing. HARLEM WINE This is not water running here, These thick rebellious streams That hurtle flesh and bone past fear Down alleyways of dreams This is a wine that must flow on Not caring how or where So it has ways to flow upon Where song is in the air. So it can woo an artful flute With loose elastic lips Its measurements of joy compute With blithe, ecstatic hips. -Countee Cullen
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When Water Recedes: Blood Rising Above the Feud When deep-seated internal turmoil rises to the surface, a voice is finally heard, calling all victims to take a stance for their rights in turbulent times. One such uproar is depicted in Countee Cullen’s ‘Harlem Wine’, as the oppressed African Americans dream for liberation when racial prejudice is at a high. In order to make their case public, they began to use music, embracing their cultural roots and boldly stating that they are proud of their heritage. Hence music plays the role of the medium through which the suppressed may break through the confines of racial discrimination, and dream for equality. When an upheaval of such magnitude takes place, it is because of a manifestation of frustration. This can be seen in Countee Cullen’s poem, as the New Negros are ready for reform and are unwilling to withstand being dominated over, whereas the Old Negros were more tolerant of the issue, and afraid to fight for their rights. Through the poetic depiction of this uprising, a contrast can be seen between these two mindsets, and a conflict is set up between Old and New Negros and the suppressors. In ‘Harlem Wine’, ‘Water’ is a symbol of submission, suppression and cowardice, reflecting a the difference in the “Old Negro” and “New Negro” mentalities, and how they responded to an external source of racial subjugation, thus illustrating the rise of the “New- Negro’s” inner rebellion. In order to address the claim made above, one must first analyze the symbol of ‘water’, through the contrast that Cullen creates between ‘water’ and another symbol, ‘wine’. Hence even though he does not explicitly write about ‘water’ one must implicitly infer its significance with regard to
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the rebellion. Hence the question arises; how does Cullen’s use of “water” as a poetic symbol
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This note was uploaded on 04/03/2012 for the course ARTL 100G taught by Professor Demers during the Fall '08 term at USC.

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arlt paper 1 - Keya Agarwal ARLT 100 35327- Paris Noir...

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