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- a "flowering" of African-American art
- New world requires new art
Problems with the term Harlem Renaissance
- Renaissance=rebirth of art after a period of dark age
- there was no dark age of African American literature still growing, so no "re" birth
Other names for Harlem Renaissance
- New Negro Arts Movement
- African-American Modernism
What made the Harlem Renaissance possible?
- 1. The (first) great migration
- 2. The Promises of the Metropolis (social/economic opportunity)
- 3. White Patronage (whites paid for AA living expenses in exchange for art)
Key Questions asked by HR writers
- 1. Racial vs. National Identity - what it means to be "black" and "American"
- 2. Art vs. Politics - must be written to "uplift" the race
- 3. History vs. Modernity: African heritage in AA Literature
Alain Locke's "Enter the New Negro"
- More "myth" than man - stereotypes, assumptions
- Stock figure
- One who knows his place
- A social problem
What is the new Negro
- Shaking off sense of imitation and implied inferiority
- refuses anyones problem
- characterized by self-respect and self dependence
- Work cooperatively with whites
What is at stake for America?
- augury of new democracy
- committed to ideas of American democracy
- the choice is not the one way
Langston Hughes's "The Negro Artist and the Racial Mountain"
- Racial mountain: urge towards whiteness, associated with greatness. Artists struggle with taking the black out of their art. Wants blacks to produce negro art.
- Lowdown folk or common folk-not ashamed, looking for self-reliant art
- Produce art that remind that there is more to life
- Consequences: limiting black expression
Langston Hughes's Jazz Poetry
- Recall: jazz= "inherent expression of Negro life" antidote to "weariness"
- Jazz = A force of Democracy and Racial unity
What makes Passing possible?
- mixing of genes
- white mother or father
what makes passing desirable?
- social and economic opportunity
- strategy of survival
What causes passing to be a national obsession?
- The one-drop rule
- Rhinelander/Jones case
- blood lines make you black not looks
- Rhinelander was pressured by public to take his wife to court
good genes, breeding a better person
- Pioneered "psychological fiction"
- Psychological in the modernist moment
- "third-person" focalized" (Narrated by Irene)
- cat like
- race betrayal
- defender of racial causes
- proud of blackness
- all focalized through Irene so this is what she wants us to believe
Clare = Irene
- Race betrayer
- Selfish and manipulative
- Defende of Race
Clare, Brian, and Irene
- Irene realizes affair between Brian and Clare
- Brain says sex with wife is joke
Who is Irene really jealous of?
- Suppressed desire
- upset clare is having sex with husband and not her
- Says Clare has a "tempting mouth"
Four possibilities of Clare's death
- 1. Accident
- 2. Murder by Bellow
- 3. Suicide
- 4. Murder by Irene
Evidence that Irene murdered Clare
- Irene suspects an affair
- Irene opens window and watch cigarette fall to ground
- Moment of confusion, possessed
- Irene wouldn't remember exact moment of death, repressed her responsibility
- Was worried what people would think
- can't say the word murder
- thankful when death is confirmed
Foreshadowing in Passing
- Irene watch cigarette fall out window
- break cups and gets ride of ugly dish, could et rid of Clare
- cup stains white carpet just like blood would stain snow
What is passing a metaphor for?
a metaphor for those who are passing themselves off as something they are not
War at home
- The civil rights movement
- Second wave feminism
- Rapid Technological advances-weapons of mass destruction, images and sounds dominate human experience, media is shaping/controlling our consciousness
- Rejects modernist faith in "make it new"
- mass reproduction and image dominance
- no authentic reality
- nothing can be truly "original"
- enlightenment and Emersonianism
- no "individual" our lives are determined by images
- rejects that art is valid site for search for meaning
- -life is meaningless and absurd
- -seeks to reveal to readers "nothingness"
- -suggests that since life is essentially "absurd" so must art be
Postmodernism rejects cont:
- truth as objective
- Proposes that instead validity of multiple meanings
- expose the mechanisms used to hide "production" of truth
Themes of Postmodernism
- Blending of genres
- Parody [dark] humor, Irony
- Themes: alienation, limitations of freedom
Scott Momaday "The way to Rainy Mountain"
- Native American Renaissance
- Themes: Kiowa history, American West, cultural LAND
Momaday as Exempler of Postmodernism
- Multi-generic text (multiple genres-postmodernism)
- 1. Poems are conventional
- 2. Prose (autobiography)
- 3. "Trios" (piece together own past)
Destabilizing "truth" Momoday
- 1st passage:like fairytale, myth
- 2nd passage: descriptive, objective, historical
- 3rd passage: personal
Momaday as a skeptic of postmodernism
- Nature is "real"
- Land described in minute detail
- lane is immense
- Nature has power to humble humanity
- nature is dominant and will always win
- Laments humanity has lost reverence for nature
- What he believes grandmother understood but we lost
Sandra Cisnerios "woman Hollering Creek"
- Chicana feminist poet
- Cisnerios is interested in possibilities of boundaries and boarders
Cleofilas "boarder" figure
- Father and Husband - piece of property who needs father permission
- Mexico and USA - Once married will mexico but wants both places
- Action and Inaction - wants to leave when father beats but can't
- Fantasy and reality - life is influenced by soap operas
Consequences of postmodernism, Media based culture (Woman Hollering Creek)
- Telenoveles do not prepare
- Engender dangerous expectations
Alternate paradigm (Woman Hollering Creek)
- Female solidarity
- Taking the wheel
- Crossing the arroyo
- Learning to holler (finding one's own voice)
The Road, McCarthy
- McCarthy: bridge between Modernism and Postmodernism
- has much in common with modernist prose writers
Significance of the form in The Road
- spare prose, no contractions
- blank space: world where luxuries are gone
- No contractions: easy conveniences
- No quotation marks: world in story come alive
- -Analogy: man and boy road=our journey through book
- No names: names are social function, no society
- No formal breaks: text never stops, inact journey of father and son, must continue with no sign of where to stop
Location of The Road
- American South
- Southern Flora
- History of slavery
What is world like (the Road)
- blood cults
- boy was born at beginning of apocalypse
- male violence
- woman and children sex slaves
- find human meat locker
Why won't McCarthy tell us more?
clear vision of how it all ends, we could reassure ourselves that we have time to "fix" it
- Gone is the puritan notion "beacon" of light
- Boy and man are pilgrims in a world of darkness
The man and the boy
- religious metaphor God, Christ
- Father believes son is a warrant from God
- Mother has given up
- The Boy: a world of gloom, remains compassionate
Where does the boys compassion come from?
- the man constructed a morality through storytelling
- boy would rather starve than see someone else starve
Possible outcomes of The Road
- the boy represents certain features of a christ figure. One who has to help
- Boy and young girl remake a new world (adam and eve figures) life will go on
The arc of American Literature
- 1. Puritans = "All you need is God"
- 2. Enlightenment = "All you need is reason"
- 3. Transcendentalism = "All you need is you"
- 4. Modernism = "All you need is 'new'"
- 5. McCarthy = "All you need is…gone forever"
- McCarthy = "All you need is love"
The New Negro
- The Negro Artist and Racial Mountian
- Jazz Band in a Parisian Cabaret
I sit and Sew
N Scott Momaday
The Way to Rainy Mtn.
"Woman Hollering Creek"