The collection juxtaposes his delight in natural beauty, whether witnessed in individuals, flora, or fauna and regardless of whether it is to be discovered in the country or the citiesand his despair in discovering the discrimination against the poor, the dark-skinned, and the immigrant in a society that professes itself to be open, nondiscriminatory, and egalitarian.
Applauding youths laughed with young prostitutes And watched her perfect, half-clothed body sway; Her voice was like the sound of blended flutes Blown by black players upon a picnic day.
She sang and danced on gracefully and calm, The light gauze hanging loose about her form; To me she seemed a proudly-swaying palm Grown lovelier for passing through a storm.
Upon her swarthy neck black, shiny curls Profusely fell; and, tossing coins in praise, The wine-flushed, bold-eyed boys, and even the girls, Devoured her with their eager, passionate gaze; But, looking at her falsely-smiling face I knew her self was not in that strange place.
And although sex and race are both significant in this poem, I feel like gender is a more central theme to this specific Claude McKay poem.
As sonnets traditionally work, the last two lines of the poem changeup the flow and elicits the truth about the situation happening in this Harlem cabaret club; so while we are presented with a picture of this graceful, poised, gorgeous black beauty in the first twelve lines, the last two exhibits the true nature of the Harlem dancer.
Hence, her true self would not be stripping in a jazz club if it were up to her, but her lowly social location forces her to go against her own morals—to put aside her true self to fit into the male dominant construct of femininity.
Perhaps this is a comment on the complex nature that black women must face, seeing as they are faced with both the sexist gaze and the racist gaze.
With this assumption in mind, the speaker can see her sadness by silently empathizing with her racial plights as an African American. So whether McKay meant to bring it up or not, the major theme of this poem is the complications of African American women who were forced to fit into two normative aspects of American society, white society and male society.
Thus, the gaze becomes double-layered and immensely convoluted.
If we must die, O let us nobly die, So that our precious blood may not be shed In vain; then even the monsters we defy Shall be constrained to honor us though dead!
Though far outnumbered let us show us brave, And for their thousand blows deal one death-blow! What though before us lies the open grave? Perhaps this is why McKay writes in the traditional sonnet structure, so that he can redefine it based on his culture rather than the white culture that originally created the poetic format.Oct 31, · “Harlem Shadows” Summary of Poem In “Harlem Shadows” Claude McKay writes about young prostitutes in Harlem.
Compare to other poems in form. This poem has a different form than the others. The rhyme scheme of “Harlem Shadows is ababcc. Some of the other poems have abba/cddc and ab/ab rhyme schemes. Compare to other poems in message. Claude McKay was born in Jamaica, West Indies.
He was educated by his older brother, who possessed a library of English novels, poetry, and scientific texts. At the age of twenty, McKay published a book of verse called Songs of Jamaica, recording his impressions of black life in Jamaica in dialect.
The Harlem Dancer Claude McKay.
Album Ms. Alexander's ENG Class (Fall ) The Harlem Dancer Lyrics. Applauding youths laughed with young prostitutes. Mar 30, · The Harlem Dancer by Claude McKay Analysis.
Grade 9 Analysis of Dulce et Decorum Est by Wilfred Owen, His Most Famous Poem - Duration: Mr . selected our specific poems (Claude McKay’s “The Harlem Dancer” and Sylvia Plath’s “Cut”) for their brevity, apparent simplicity, complex subtexts, and rich contexts.
In The Harlem Dancer by Claude McKay, the brief passage that unlocks the poem for me is “The light gauze hanging loose about her form. ” The metaphor of light gauze suggests that the female dancer had wounds from her past nevertheless she is still beautiful, and her heart is pure and chaste. Oct 31, · “Harlem Shadows” Summary of Poem In “Harlem Shadows” Claude McKay writes about young prostitutes in Harlem. Compare to other poems in form. This poem has a different form than the others. The rhyme scheme of “Harlem Shadows is ababcc. Some of the other poems have abba/cddc and ab/ab rhyme schemes. Compare to other poems in message. The Lynching by Claude McKay was published in , after the end slavery but still during a period that saw violence against African-Americans. The poem paints a disturbing picture of a lynching and reveals much about the darkest elements of humanity. Several themes can be drawn from the poem.
The lesson is not. Harlem Shadows. The Harlem Shadows is a poem that was written by Claude McKay. The poem shows empathy for the marginalized people in society and MacKay give the examples of the prostitutes who work overnight to make ends meet in life.