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Week 7 Section. FOCUS: Pauline Hopkins’s Contending Forces Langston Hughes’s poetry Emma Goldman’s Living My Life , vols. 1 and 2. Papers. Should be returning them tomorrow in lecture (get excited).

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week 7 section

Week 7 Section


Pauline Hopkins’s Contending Forces

Langston Hughes’s poetry

Emma Goldman’s Living My Life, vols. 1 and 2

  • Should be returning them tomorrow in lecture (get excited).
  • Mine have blue ink and about a page of typed comments at the end. I think Dr. Streeby has been using purple pen.
  • Sorry if my comments take on the tone of revision (“Expand on X here”). You might, of course, revise these at some point outside of this class, and it’s hard for me not to think in those terms.
  • If you want to discuss your paper or contest your grade, be sure to read my comments first and gather your thoughts/arguments. Generally, I tried to be as generous as I could justify being, and you should be forewarned that I have never raised a student’s grade . . .
  • Remember you need to be fluent in the “academic paper” style; you don’t always have to write that way, but you need a clear argument (not a description or general book review), clear organization of the points that comprise that argument, and textual support and analysis. Also follow MLA not just for citations but for document format (see the site online).
  • Finally, it’s truly a privilege to be able to read your work.
group work
Group Work
  • GROUP 1:Hopkins
      • What happens? How are the events portrayed, and what are the effects?
  • GROUP 2: Hughes
    • Analyze “The Negro Speaks of Rivers” and “I, Too.” What is Hughes arguing in each poem, and how does he make his arguments?
  • GROUP 3: Hughes
      • Analyze “The Weary Blues” and “Mulatto.” What is Hughes arguing in each poem, and how does he make his arguments?
  • GROUP 4: Hughes
    • Analyze “Note on Commercial Theatre” and “Theme for English B.” What is Hughes arguing in each poem, and how does he make his arguments?
  • GROUP 5: Goldman volume 1
    • What are a few key themes that Goldman focuses on in this volume, and what does she seem to argue about them (and how does she argue about them)?
  • GROUP 6: Goldman volume 2
      • What are a few key themes that Goldman focuses on in this volume, and what does she seem to argue about them (and how does she argue about them)?
hopkins contending forces
Hopkins, Contending Forces
  • Main characters:
    • Anson Pollock (villain); Hank Davis (another villain, slave)
    • Charles and Grace Montfort; Jesse and Charles Montfort (sons)
    • Mr. Whitfield (father) and Elizabeth/Lizzie Whitfield (marries Jesse)
    • Dr. Arthur Lewis (Washington figure) and Luke Sawyer (du Bois figure)
    • Monsieur Beaubean (Mabelle’s father) and his half-brother (kidnaps and rapes Mabelle when she’s 14)
    • Mabelle/Sappho Clark (spoiler alert—they’re the same person)
  • Tone: sensational, sentimental novel; 3rd person narrator
  • Themes:
    • slavery, miscegenation, passing (Grace); antebellum North Carolina, postbellum Boston; reframing law (plunder), ownership (sexualrevenge; slaves and plunder), rumor (1. that Grace is mixed-race and 2. that Montfort is going to free his slavesfuels violence, plus Grace scorns Pollock’s advances)
    • lynching imagery, rape (also beating likened to rape), suicide (link Grace disappearing and drowning to Chopin re: possible ending of “Désirée’s Baby” and TheAwakening)
    • family, domestic space (threatened)
    • Washington vs. Du Bois debate (gradualism, self-help, militarism, double-consciousness), Revolutionary War rhetoric (see Luke Sawyer pp. 505-06)
  • General style: not sonnet form like McKay; musical, uses speech (different voices), does use various rhyming words and sound tropes, repeating words and phrases, sometimes uses italics
  • “The Negro Speaks of Rivers”
    • Rivers—depth of rivers linked to depth of soul
    • repeats “I” and “I’ve”—self
    • shift from Africa (esp. Egypt) to the US South
    • omnipresent (across time and space)
  • “I, Too”
    • “sing America” and “am America”
    • banished but resilient
    • from now (present tense) to “Tomorrow” and “Then” (future tense)
    • whites will see narrator’s beauty and be ashamed
    • staking a claim to American identity
  • “The Weary Blues”
    • Highly musical and “drowsy,” “lazy,” “mellow”; slow cadence
    • Traditional rhyme at the ends of lines but also assonance (“piano moan, “crooned that tune”)
    • Indented lyrics of the blues singer in vernacular, sorrowful, “can’t be satisfied”
    • Though the Blues player “slept like a rock” in the last line, the song “echoes through his head” (note tense, too)
  • “Mulatto”
    • Italicized speech of mulatto son, white father, and sibling(s)
    • Rural Georgia, “pillars of the temple fell”—decay, façade?
    • Mulatto son’s defiant declaration and father’s denial; denial of sibling(s)
    • Mocks the value of black bodies: “What’s a body but a toy?” and “What’s the body of your mother?” repeated; lewd ownership of slave woman’s body as described by slaveowner versus reverence of narrator describing birth
    • Some indented sections take on nursery rhyme cadence
    • Repeated use of the color yellow (for the stars and skin)—common color to denote mixed-race status
    • Attempt to banish son to the night, but the last bit of italicized speech belongs to the son, defiantly repeating, “I am your son, white man!”
  • “Note on Commercial Theatre”
    • Whites stole the blues, stole spirituals
    • Art becomes whitened and gentrified (now on Broadway and Hollywood Bowl—not Harlem; spirituals in Macbeth and Carmen Jones [Broadway musical, all-black cast] and Swing Mikados [Chicago and Broadway opera, all-black cast])
    • “you mixed ‘em up” and “you fixed ‘em/ So they don’t sound like me.”
    • “You put me” in all these things except for anything that’s “about me.”
    • Taking and then leaving—a thief.
    • Suggests he’ll be stolen too and (re)framed/(re)presented: “someday somebody’ll / Stand up and talk about me, / And write about me”
    • Ends with suggesting he’ll play himself—”Yes, it’ll be me.”
  • “Theme for English B”
    • White instructor’s words italicized at beginning—write a page that’s true to you (writing as self-expression and perhaps actualization)
    • Launches into curiosity about this assignment: “I wonder if it’s that simple?”
    • 22, black, moved around—now at CUNY on the hill but lives down the hill in Harlem, “the only colored student in my class.”
    • Identifies with Harlem, talking to Harlem on the page he writes.
    • “Me—who?” Enumerates hobbies and desires, decides “being colored doesn’t make me not like / the same things other folks like who are other races.”
    • Will this page really represent him—”will my page be colored that I write? / Being me, it will not be white.”
    • Unity with the instructor—the writing is part of both of them. “That’s American.”
    • Sometimes resist being part of each other, but they are—seems potentially natural, unavoidable, “true!”
    • Reciprocal learning (both are teacher and both are student) though differ in age, race, and relative freedom.
    • Ends with declaration: “This is my page for English B.”
goldman living my life vol 1
Goldman, Living My Life Vol. 1
  • Key themes (cont. on next slide):
    • Immigration (from Russia; Jewish roots; arrival in New York in 1889 at the age of 20; feels naked and commodified at the immigration office)
    • Speech-making (under the guidance of Johann Most and Alexander “Sasha” Berkman; fear and doubtconfidence and fame; declines to parrot Most’s views)
    • Haymarket and inspiration to become an anarchist (revenge; reads voraciously; passionate dedication to her “martyred comrades” (10); learns more about Russian Nihilists; skepticism about religion)
      • “the Statue of Liberty had ceased to be an alluring symbol. How childishly naïve I had been, how far I had advanced since that day!” (30).
    • Politics are mostly about labor and government regulation at this point
      • Labor (making gloves; surveillance and poor conditions; low wages)
    • Hatred of US press and establishing own paper/pamphlets (Mother Earth)
    • Disability (her illnesses, Berkman’s leg)
    • Love of beauty (fights over this with Berkman, who infantilizes her)
    • Independence(of views and lifestyle). On Most and gendered ownership: “Now he wanted only to feel me near—his Blondkopf, his little girl-woman” (53). Wants rights to self-expression and beauty (56).
    • San Diego: “civil war” (494); threatened for trying to speak and seeking labor rights; forced patriotism; separated from Dr. Ben Reitman; gets help from press b/c fears he’s dead; he treats Goldman like a mother; claims to have been beaten and sexually abused by police
goldman vol 1 cont
Goldman Vol. 1 Cont.
  • Family
    • Parents (a cold mother and a violent father who tries to marry her off at 15)
    • Love for sister Helena
  • Marriage and divorce (meets Jacob Kershner at work; had a lot in common before he changed; impotent and feminized)
  • Sexuality(puberty, masturbation; mother made her feel ashamed; free love and lack of shame; she was an early proponent of birth control and LGBT rights)
    • Love rectangle: Goldman, Berkman (editor, pushes her to speak), Most (idolized speaker), Fetya (artist). “My three good friends insisted that I stop work to have more time for study. They would also relieve me of every domestic responsibility. I devoted myself to reading” (47).
    • Needs an operation to have children and experience full sexual pleasure; remembers her bad childhood and decides to serve the cause completely
  • Gender expectations
    • Mocks men: “Some senile Spanish War veterans suddenly discovered their lost manhood and offered to do their duty. ‘Five hundred brave soldiers will meet Emma Goldman at the station,’ the newspaper announced, ‘and drive her back’” (502).
    • Tries to protect her face after getting a death threat notice. “Why had I been more concerned about my face than about my chest or any other part of my body? . . . It was a shock to discover in myself such ordinary female vanity” (503).
goldman living my life vol ii
Goldman, Living My Life Vol. II
  • Key themes (cont. on next 3 slides):
    • A HUGE theme in this volume that carries over from the previous one is the argument that anarchists aren’t violent—the government is (this goes against stereotypes, though this isn’t to say that Goldman and her compatriots really weren’t violent).
      • To crowd: “you do not believe in violence, and it equally proves that you understand that war is the most fiendish violence” (606).
      • She makes a big deal about being misquoted as supporting and using violence (617).
      • Prisoners are “attack[ed],” “assault[ed]” in the middle of the night, treated like POWs while led onto the ship to be deported (716-717).
    • Conscription vs. the No-Conscription League
      • Helena’s son, David, enlists and is killed; Goldman criticizes US military for not valuing his life enough to tell his family (see 633 and 674).
    • Role of the press again—publicizing their side and fighting against prejudicial press; using Mother Earth more
goldman vol 2 cont
Goldman, Vol. 2 Cont.
  • Trial and the rule of law
    • Sarcastic tone comes out heavily here as Goldman shows defiance against a system she argues is unjust (denied a fair jury, denied appeals, sentenced for a longer period than she should be, etc.).
    • On going to jail: “I started for my room to change my dress, aware that a night’s free lodging was in store for me” (610)
    • “[W]e knew that we could expect no justice” (613).
    • Rhetoric of silence: ignore the prosecution (614), refuse to speak (see 704); she’s often interrupted and misquoted, anyway. But also argues, “To us it is more satisfactory to stay behind bars than to remain MUZZLED in freedom” (650)—rhetoric of silence is meaningful if it’s a choice rather than forced (like being muzzled).
    • Compare selves to Christ and martyrs (see, for example, 614).
    • Trial likened to theatre: “the stage [was] set” for this “tragicomedy” (620)
    • On being sentenced, she bows to the judge and sarcastically thanks him for his leniency (623).
goldman vol 2 cont1
Goldman, Vol. 2 Cont.
  • Prison and mass arrests by “Anarchist Squad”; conspiracy charges; Espionage Law
    • Prison as a strange kind of home or domestic space (her “neighbors,” mockery of the picnic (679), performing manual labor). Nurses the other inmates during flu epidemic (668), champions for women who are being punished, plays Santa Claus (672-73). On her friends: “Soon we politicals—Kate, Ella, and I—were nicknamed ‘the trinity.’ We spent much time together and became very neighbourly” (677)
    • Disability continues here with her, Berkman, and other prisoners
    • Sasha gives a speech about the absurdity of being charged with conspiracy when they never hid anything (619).
    • Race and class set some prisoners apart (Goldman benefits from the labor of African American prisoners and stands out as having more money and education (662); mentions racism of “the Chinese girl” (660)), though describes prison as “very democratic in the sense that we all received the same treatment’ (653).
    • Hunger strikes in prison (670)
  • Deportation to Russia
    • Irony and sarcasm re: leaving the US (“Few days remained to us on the hospitable United States shores” (714)), sailing away in a ship used during the Spanish-American War and sailing away in the shadow of the Statue of Liberty: feels like she’s been doomed to march to Siberia, but this is actually New York—”It was America, indeed, America repeating the terrible scenes of tsarist Russia! I glanced up—the Statue of Liberty!” (717).
  • Potential mutiny and alliance with sailors/soldiers
    • Exposing how soldiers are cogs in the wheel (just like prison workers are—see 654) and begin to befriend the anarchists on board. They offer weapons and suggest mutiny (see 720-22).
goldman vol 2 cont2
Goldman, Vol. 2 Cont.
  • Gender
    • “[The press] did not care to make it known that large numbers of Americans had the manhood to defy the government” (607).
    • “[G]allant” Sasha won’t let himself be bailed out first (612).
    • Assumption at the prison that she has venereal disease (626).
    • Mother Earth is her “offspring” (642).
  • Religion—affirms her “heathen” status (660-61)
  • Independence—“the most disturbing feeling in regard to my deportation was the dread of dependence. Never once since I had come to America had I known the fear of not being able to stand on my own feet” (707). “It was not the dread of poverty or want; it was the fear of having to do the bidding of those who have the power to withhold the means of existence” (708).
  • Nativism and forced patriotism
    • Court accuses anarchists of taking German money in this WWI context (616).
    • Court tries to make anarchists look worse “by creating the impression that our witnesses were mostly foreigners” (618).
    • Forced patriotism appeared in San Diego section in volume I, and here in court everyone has to stand at attention every time the national anthem rings out or they are dragged out of court (619-20)
    • Goldman likens herself to Founding Fathers, discusses liberty; judge rebuts her (621-22).
    • Compares US to Russia by writing about the October Revolution in Russia and the changes it wrought at that time (644). As she imagines forming a Society of Russian Friends of American Freedom, says US had helped Russia get freedom and now “[i]t is the turn of free Russia to come to the aid of America” (715).
a dangerous woman the graphic biography of emma goldman by sharon rudahl 2007
A Dangerous Woman: The Graphic Biography of Emma Goldmanby Sharon Rudahl (2007)

Graphic novel based on Goldman’s autobiography

a few film recommendations women and imprisonment in the 20 th century
A Few Film Recommendations: Women and Imprisonment in the 20th Century

Chicago (2002) The Magdalene Sisters Iron Jawed Angels (2004)

1920s Chicago 1960s Ireland 1910s-1920 Wash., DC