Gwendolyn Brooks Presentation

Hey, everyone. I edited the Gwendolyn Brooks Study guide because it was a lot sloppier than I thought. Attached is an updated version: Gwendolyn Brooks Study Guide

Here’s a brief summary of what we went over:

I believe Du Bois’s theory of double-consciousness fits best with the four poems we’re using for the exam. [Double Consciousness (D.C.): “It is a peculiar sensation, this double-consciousness, this sense of always looking at one’s self through the eyes of others. . . One ever feels his twoness, – an American, a Negro; two souls, two thoughts, two unreconciled strivings; two warring ideals in one dark body, whose dogged strength alone keeps it from being torn asunder” (Du Bois)]

Du Bois’ theory was very influential at the time and is still taken into consideration today.

Within this theory, though, there are variations of the way it can be used.

“Negro Hero (1945) can be used for it’s original meaning. Dorie Miller juxtaposes his D.C. life both as a soldier fighting for America (against foreigners) and fighting a racist battle at home (against whites).

“The Sonnet-Ballad” (1949) adopts D.C. but modifies it in a way that it focuses on women. Rather than an African-American woman thinking  in terms of race, D.C. becomes a sense of agency where the speaker in the poem thinks of her love-life as a woman compared to her lover.

“Riot” (1969) can use D.C. as both it’s original term, but also in economical terms. Brooks uses John Cabot to mirror the stereotypical white man at this time with materialistic goods and Blacks by referring to them as “unpretty.”

“The Near-Johannesburg Boy” (1987) mainly uses D.C. in its original context but also implies that D.C. is a thought that can expand throughout countries.  Another option is contrasting the three earlier works with “The Near-Johannesburg Boy” since those three were written about the U.S. perspective of double consciousness while Johannesburg is about South Africa.

Another option is contrasting the three earlier works with “The Near-Johannesburg Boy” since those three were written about the U.S. perspective of double consciousness while Johannesburg is about South Africa thought.

Here are the two further sources:

Debo, Annette. “Reflecting Violence in the Warpland: Gwendolyn Brooks’s ‘Riot.’” 2005. African American Review, 39.1/2. p. 143-152. https://www.jstor.org/stable/40033642

Stanford, F. Ann. “Dialecitcs of Desire: War and the Resistive Voice in Gwendolyn Brooks’s “Negro Hero” and “Gay Chaps at the Bar.” 1992. African American Review, 26.2. p. 197. http://search.proquest.com.queens.ezproxy.cuny.edu:2048/docview/209808244?accountid=13379&rfr_id=info%3Axri%2Fsid%3Aprimo

 



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