Indirectly, the poem clarify how black people were suffering from the way they were treated and how they were insulted. I tried to find out more information about the writer and different meanings for the poem. In line 10 the speaker says, “Though far outnumbered let us show us brave”. Instead of asking blacks to accept their fate or to uselessly flee from the threat of death, McKay dares them to stare death in the face and to fight against the power that whites try to hold over them. ...Charles Bailey “If We Must Die” by Claude McKay, we must fight!! 8 Shall be constrained to honor us though dead! People tend to mask their feelings to hide their emotions from others. Towards the median of the poem, he describes the whites with further detail. In line nine McKay recognizes the root of their problem as lack of unity. What I elucidated from the title was a feeling of hope for African Americans. I chose to analyze this poem because it painted the most vivid image in my mind and i was better able to understand its purpose. Change ), You are commenting using your Google account. The poem is discussing a group of people who are going off to battle. This work of art cultivated empathy within me for several reasons. Lyrical poems typically does not have to rhyme but in this case it does. Change ). the plot of the poem is about some group of people that is being unfairly treated and perhaps even uselessly killed for no real reason. In the bible it speaks about humans being put on Earth for a reason and carrying out the plan that God has for us. While round us bark the mad and hungry dogs, Poets like Claude McKay, share their disdain for racism and the stupidity of the racist. Claude McKay was aware of how to keep his name consistently in mainstream culture by writing for that audience. If we must die, O let us nobly die, So that our precious blood may not be shed In vain; then even the monsters we defy Shall be constrained to honor us though dead! Claude McKay is a man who spans national boundaries, literary genres,political identities, and even his own time. Literature that has created empathy within me would consist of Claude McKay’s poem If We Must Die, The author came over from Jamaica in 1912 and eventually became part of the Harlem Renaissance along with other African … It seems that there will always be an oppressed group, that is something we can’t escape from. If We Must Die By: Claude McKay If We Must Die study guide contains a biography of Claude McKay, literature essays, quiz questions, major themes, characters, and a full summary and analysis. The poem “If We Must Die, by Claude McKay” is about a certain group of people who are hated and hunted by another group of others. The whites would attack the blacks and vice versa. This means that McKay constructed this poem most likely because of something he was enduring or witnessed during this time. The poem can be read literally, as a pastoral, ecological poem concerned with the […], “Freedom equals the parts of our natures not determined by our genes.” (Ridley, 302) Free will is not an illusion. Clearly provocative and even chilling, “If We Must Die” by Claude McKay stirs deep and powerful emotions in any who reads it. There … “If We Must Die” by Claude McKay, we must fight!! His work which, Claude McKay is one of the important writers that were brought into the spotlight as a result of the Harlem Renaissance. In all 3 texts the authors, The poem “If We Must Die” is written by African American author, Claude McKay. “If we must die, O let us nobly die”, and eventhough the person might be by far outnumbered, beaten and maimed not to sit there and take the punishment. These details used can contribute to the overall theme of this poem which would be, “Fight back so that one dies with honor, even when one is outnumbered”. In “A Lesson Before Dying” we can learn from Jefferson that although someone puts you down, you should be able to ignore it and move on from it with some pride. McKay was the son of a peasant farmer. Sonnets being traditionally used for beautiful, appealing topics, already there is contradiction between, Dogs rarely die a shameful death, but instead fight to the finish. In Claude McKay’s, “Old England” and “Quashie to Buccra” McKay uses dialect as a way to give poems multiple meanings. If We Must Die - Claude McKay This is an example of a metaphor because he is comparing the whites to vicious dogs without directly saying that. If we must die, let it not be like hogs Hunted and penned in an inglorious spot, While round us bark the mad and hungry dogs, Making their mock at our accursèd lot. This work of literature teaches the reader that if a group of people can come together as one they can be more powerful then a greater population. AP English Literature Cookie information is stored in your browser and performs functions such as recognising you when you return to our website and helping our team to understand which sections of the website you find most interesting and useful. In the opening lines of the writing, it says “If we must die, let it not be like hogs”. He was interested in English poetry dealing with literary. And giving their adversaries a living hell for trying to take it away from them. It could be about two warring kingdoms, where one is simply taking what it desires and killing the other one off for simple pleasure and enjoyment. McKay also wants us to accept death but wants us to put up a fight so that there would be a struggle. In short, the speaker knows that the blacks are outnumbered but he does not feel like that is a reason to not fight back for what we believe in or not to want a change for the better. McKay’s choice to write his poem in the form of a Shakespearean sonnet, a form usually reserved for flowery love language, could be attributed to either establishing his worth as a writer to a community not so accepting of black writers and/or to use an easily understood format to convey the strong message of injustice within American, between “Yet Do I Marvel” and “If We Must Die” He stresses to the black community, that this is not how we should go out. In McKay’s time, which was early 1900s, there were many violent riots as well as blacks being killed ruthlessly from whites who showed no remorse nor faced any punishment. Though the Harlem Renaissance period was a time of thriving people and culture in the African-American community, prejudice was still very much active; something African-Americans knew first hand. Once we see that they are not half as horrible as we once thought, this makes us lose all of the fear that we once had. Mckay life was filled with hardships, especially as a writer. Blacks were killed and treated unfairly but this is an ongoing conflict. His choice of words, specifically "mock," is particularly effective in drawing a reaction from the audience. This use of language helps us understand how the two races viewed each other then and now. Langston Hughes’s poem portrays a more passive overtone, while Claude McKay’s poem is more, lynchings, and various other cases of bloodshed against the black community across the United States. Claude McKay was born in Jamaica in 1889; he had a great sense of racial Pride and in 1912 travel to Alabama to attend Tuskegee Institute. Though the Harlem Renaissance period was a time of thriving people and culture in the African-American community, prejudice was still very much active; something, If We Must Die by Claude McKay Aimed at tapping into the subconscious, surrealism became a growing art form that still influences artists and writers to this […], Richard II by William Shakespeare is a historical play that chronicles part of the rule and eventual downfall of King Richard II of England. McKay experienced the hardships that colored people were going through because of their race and nationality. In McKay’s time, people loved his poems; he was adored by Blacks and Whites alike. They can construct it based on their own fears. What may be seen as a simplistic or naïve poem about Jamaican life may actually be full of double meanings that only a select audience would be able to identify. Throughout the lines of “If We Must Die” by Claude McKay, the transformation from oppression and weakness to strength and power is highlighted within fourteen lines. They become major influences based on their celebrity status. McKay was born Sunny Ville Jamaica as the youngest of 11 sons. When the speaker says “If we must die, O let us nobly die, So that our precious blood may not be shed in vain” in lines 5 and 6. He wants his followers and the reader to be aware of what is taking place. Having a voice is formidable and can have an immense impact on other people and can also be the deciding factor of your level of success. McKay begins his piece by asserting that he refuses to be killed by angry racist white men for absolutely not reason. They shall be examined in reverse order. The poem is discussing a group of people who are going off to battle. “If We Must Die” Analysis In his poem’s, McKay ultimately gives Negros who work under white colonists the underlying message of black resistance by revolution. As there could be many interpretations of what “If We Must Die”means, a person really would not understand if they didn’t take the time to read and dissect the poem. It can be defined in many ways; perhaps the most […], ‘The whole things is allegorical from start to end, yet he never takes you by the neck and says “Get down to it, that’s an allegory, you’ve got to interpret […], The gods as depicted in Christopher Marlowe’s Hero and Leander are beings that exist outside of the realm of morality, living near humans but bound by separate rules and ideas. whether the situation be vast, or insignificant. “If We Must Die” encourages us to keep fighting even if we are going to lose the battle. Now that he has put the picture of the whites because vicious and crazed, he tries to lessen that or make them less chilling. The poem “If We Must Die” is written by African American author, Claude McKay. This post is a little different than my usual discussions. He tells the reader that they are wicked and unfair and that he is aware that we are outnumbered. What may be seen as a simplistic or naïve poem about Jamaican life may actually be full of double meanings that only a select audience would be able to identify. He wants to motivate his readers to fight back and change from hogs to men. The author uses words to express his state of mind and his perceptions. In “A worn Path” the journey is expressed to show the journey of a brave woman. Simultaneously, the play also showcases the […], In Arthur Miller’s play “Death of a Salesman,” Willy Loman is an individual who strives to achieve the “American Dream” in the 1940’s. In 1919 they’re where countless race riots in Harlem and all over the United States.