Saturday, January 13, 2018

Before there were Hipsters, there were Beatniks

African-American Beats

"At lilac evening I walked with every muscle aching among the lights of 27th and Welton in the Denver colored section, wishing I were a Metro, feeling that the best the white world had offered was not enough ecstasy for me, not enough life, joy, kicks, darkness, music, not enough night... I wished I were a Denver Mexican, or even a poor overworked Jap, anything but what I was so drearily, a "white man" disillusioned." (On The Road, 1957)

"[T]he white bebopper of the forties was a removed from society as the Negroes, but as a matter of choice... [the] Negro himself had no choice." (LeRoi Jones, Blues People, 1963)

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Thomas Chatterton

Thomas Chatterton is a symbol of Romantic ideals: dying young with his genius unrecognised and dying alone surrounded by the squalor of a London garret. Chatterton went to London hoping to become a famous poet, but since he did not immediately achieved the poetic recognition he expected, he was seized by despair and committed suicide. Chatterton therefore embodies rural innocence killed by the city's evil influence. He represents the fragmentary, the genius which didn't reach its plenitude. His suicide is the symbol of the Romantic courtship of Despair, the result of the world's callous neglect of true genius.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Call me Ishmael (Moby-Dick)

Both Ahab and Ishmael are fascinated by the whale, but whereas Ahab perceives him exclusively as evil, Ishmael keeps an open mind. Ahab has a static world view, blind to new information, but Ishmael's world view is constantly in flux as new insights and realizations occur. "And flux in turn ... is the chief characteristic of Ishmael himself."

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Double consciousness

After the Egyptian and Indian, the Greek and Roman, the Teuton and Mongolian, the Negro is a sort of seventh son, born with a veil, and gifted with second-sight in this American world, --a world which yields him no true self-consciousness, but only lets him see himself through the revelation of the other world. It is a peculiar sensation, this double-consciousness, this sense of always looking at one's self through the eyes of others, of measuring one's soul by the tape of a world that looks on in amused contempt and pity. One ever feels his twoness, --an American, a Negro; two warning souls, two thoughts, two unreconciled strivings; two warring ideals in one dark body, whose dogged strength alone keeps it from being torn asunder.

The history of the American Negro is the history of this strife, --this longing to attain self-conscious manhood, to merge his double self into a better and truer self.

W.E.B. DuBois ''Of Our Spiritual Strivings'' in The Souls of Black Folk (1903)

(e.g. Claude McKay, Countee Cullen)

Hispanic American Literatures

e.g. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Waldo by Junot Díaz

From Oscar's childhood, it was clear that he would never live up to the stereotype of the Dominican man. (...) Due wore his nerdiness like a Jedi wore his light saber or a Lensman her lens. Couldn't have passed for Normal if he'd wanted to.
Returning to the Dominican Republic for the summer is simply the reality for many Dominican families, but it also represents an important shift in Oscar's life goals. In the DR, he still faces difficulties, but his skin color is not a hindrance to his life goals. Once he returns to the United States, however, he is reminded that certain jobs (like writing genre fiction) are reserved for certain people (white people). Once again, the novel presents racism as something that can be internalized by people of color, as Al, Miggs, and Oscar's mother all deride Oscar's writing because it is too ''white''. Oscar starts to use writing as a way to cope with the injustices he sees in the world, as well as a way to create a safe space for himself. Oscar suffers from a crisis of identity because his physical appearance does not match the cultural image of the type of person he would like to be. His first experience living in a majority-white environment is jarring, but the reaction of his fellow students of color is more hurtful in a a way, because the other Latino students also have narrow ideas about what people with dark skin should be allowed to do.

The white kids looked at his black skin and his afro and treated him with inhuman cheeriness. The kids of color, upon hearing him speak and seeing him move his body, shook their heads. You're not Dominican. And he said, over and over again, But I am. Soy dominicano. Dominicano soy.

Conclusion: You can be successful and still relate to your own culture!!! OPEN YOUR MIND.

Friday, November 10, 2017