The Harlem Renaissance. Mr. Moccia. Presentation outline. Historical precursors Harlem Renaissance as a Whole Ideals of the Renaissance Literary Aspects of the Harlem Renaissance Langston Hughes “A Dream Deferred” Poetry Analysis Connecting Poem to Movement
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The Harlem Renaissance Mr. Moccia
Presentation outline • Historical precursors • Harlem Renaissance as a Whole • Ideals of the Renaissance • Literary Aspects of the Harlem Renaissance • Langston Hughes • “A Dream Deferred” • Poetry Analysis • Connecting Poem to Movement • Poetry Discussion Questions • Conclusion
Historical precursors • In 1910: 135th Street and Fifth Avenue in Harlem • First World War • The Great Migration
Harlem renaissance as a whole • Cultural movement of the 1920’s and 1930’s • "New Negro Movement” • Involved art, music, poetry, drama, novels, etc.
Harlem renaissance as a whole • 1917: Three Plays for a Negro Theatre, Ridgely Torrence • Negro actors conveying complex human emotions and yearnings • Rejection of the stereotypes of the blackface and minstrel show traditions • “The most important single event in the entire history of the Negro in the American Theater”
Ideals of the renaissance • The movement raised significant issues affecting the lives of African Americans • Voices of protest • Civil Rights • Inspired and created institutions and leaders who served as mentors to aspiring writers
Literary aspects • Novels, poetry, plays, and essays based on the ideals of the movement • Langston Hughes, Zora Neal Hurston, Jessie Fauset, Countee Cullen, Richard Nugent, Wallace Thurman, Claude McKay, Jean Toomer
Langston Hughes • 1902 in Joplin, Missouri • Poem "The Negro Speaks of Rivers" in the Crisis • Columbia • Style: rhythm; dialect; vernacular; accessible
“A dream deferred” What happens to a dream deferred? Does it dry up like a raisin in the sun? Or fester like a sore-- And then run? Does it stink like rotten meat? Or crust and sugar over– like a syrupy sweet? Maybe it just sags like a heavy load. Or does it explode?
Poetry analysis • The poem is an analysis of how we react to the the fact of having to do “put off” our dreams • 6 similes correspond to 6 different reactions • “Dry up like a raisin in the sun” = we forget • “Fester like a sore” = we let the deferred dream ‘eat at us’
Connecting poem to movement • Poem is also a comment on the American Dream, and the African-American experience of it • It is concerned with the African-American experience in American, like the Harlem Renaissance
Discussion Questions • Why do you think Hughes uses basic and simple language in his poems? What effect does it have on the reader? • How was the experience of the American Dream different for African-Americans than whites, even after slavery? • How is it different now? • If you had a dream you counted so much on achieving, and then it appears that you won’t be able to, how would you react? Which simile would apply to you?
Conclusion • Harlem Renaissance: outpouring of African-American cultural creativity • Considered the issues of African-Americans in America in the 20’s and 30’s • Langston Hughes’ poetry dealt with this • “Dream Deferred” deals with anyone giving up dreams, but also specifically with African-Americans deferring the American Dream