The Goophered Grapvine By, Charles W. Chesnutt

951 words - 4 pages

LitrImagine yourself at the mercy of another human being. You are reliant upon this person for rations and shelter. This person controls your existence in every way possible. You are told when to wake up, what to do, how to do it and when to stop doing it. If you do not cooperate you will be beaten ruthlessly and lose whatever little you already had. This was a horrifying and discouraging period of time for many African Americans. Not being allowed to attend schools or become educated several had to learn on their own, which lead to many African Americans being illiterate. Little or no privileges for the slaves meant more authority for their owners. You must remember these were not peo ...view middle of the document...

I think Fredrick Douglas described his own perceptions and experiences in an attempt to convince readers that slavery was wrong and to show courage, humanity and the intelligence of slaves. This piece of literature touched me and was the beginning of my enhanced understanding of what this group of people went through.Learning the backgrounds of African American culture helped me understand many of the poems and literature I read. One of the many things I found interesting was how the African Americans defined spirit. They believe spirit is in all matter and that Sub-Saharan Africans came from spirit. In addition to that, African Americans believe there is no art but it is a function. Art is functional and is to be used and it's only beautiful because it is useful. Both these ideas are interwoven throughout the pieces of literature during their time and help to understand the importance of spirit, religion and art. To bring up their spirits in time of work and suffrage I learned African Americans began singing spirituals. A spiritual is a type of religious song made by the blacks of the Southern United States. Spirituals are emotional songs that have a strong rhythm. They are especially used when sung in a group on the fields. Usually a leader sings a few lines alone, and a chorus comes in with the refrain. Well-known spirituals include " Go down, Moses," " Deep River." And " Swing Low, Sweet Chariot." I believe W.E.B. Du Bois got his ideas from spirituals when writing A Litany of Atlanta. In A Litany of Atlanta, Du Bois uses the same concept...


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