The world is not what we perceive it to be, as illustrated in Richard Wright’s poem ‘Between the World and Me,'(1935) the world can be an evil and abominable place. Wrights references a narrator, who we presume as black man who discovered a crime scene as a belated witness than learns of the social injustice of inhumanity that took place. Wright utilizes a diverse set of images to accurately convey his emotions and attitudes to the daunting scene he found, by uniting the switch from melancholic to shocked to nostalgic to horrific and brutal imagery with modifications point of view Wright is able to create a dramatic and surreal portrayal of the narrator’s emotion.Order now
Wright uses personification and imagery to bring life to the poem and give the narrator the ability to intensify his emotions of fear, anger and surprise. In the first stanza of the poem the narrator is describing the scene “guarded by scaly oaks and elms” to say that nature is guarding and preserving the scene. This give the forest life and creates an unnatural feeling by the narrator saying that the forest is guarding the scene. As he moves towards the sobering scene he has stumbled upon the “ white bones slumbering forgottenly upon a cushion of ashes.” “The dry bones stirred, rattled lifted” is showing how this affected the narrator. Furthermore the narrator’s voice was “drowned in the roar of voices,” then his “blood was cooled merifully, cooled by a baptism of gasoline,” which showed the reader that his voice is being drowned from hearing others and being tarred to death. He tells of his intense panic and terrify as he learns of the plans the heartless beings have for him “ a thousand faces swirled around me, clamoring that my life be burned ( ) …..my skin clung to the bubbling hot tar, falling from me in limp patches” ( ). The narrator gives the reader a vivid scene as the mob torture and carry out their plan and the pain inflicted upon the victim body.
In Ta-Nehisi Coates’ book Between the World and Me (2015) he uses the same title from Richard Wright’s poem written in 1935. He emphasizes the first stanza of Wright’s poem in which the narrator describes the abandoned scene of a lynching in the woods. He asserted that America was built on the backs of the enslaved and to be a black person in America was likely be living in a constant state of fear. Coates wants his son to understand what it means to be an African American. Coates presents the book to his fifteen-year old son in a form of a letter. Coates expresses his opinion about history and race following a series of experiences at Howard University and his childhood and youth at Baltimore. Coates addresses the burden of being African Americans through racism, murder and segregation.
Coates addresses the realities of being black in America and advice blacks to face reality without needing any help from others. He holds that black sons and daughters must be “twice as good to acquire half as much.” (Coates, 90) Coates advises African Americans to live the dream and to stop dreaming. He would rather become somewhat violent enough to where he can save his body, but too violent to where he could lose his own life. Coates tries to explain to his son when he used to live in Baltimore that “being black in Baltimore in my youth was to be naked before the elements of the world, before all the guns, knives, fists rape.” (17) he fears the police might harm African Americans physically and advises his son to use code switching rules to address the street normalities and the authorities as they might not do any good to African Americans. Coates defining in his son’s education on injustice of Michael Brown shooting “that was the week you learned that the killers of Michael Brown would go free….it was my expectation that anyone would ever be punished”(11) Coates tells the differences between his own youth and upbringing of his son and yet there is a constant insecurity of being black into today society that haven’t change. He also explains black bodies have historically been used, beaten and enslaved “ you must be responsible for the worse actions of other black bodies, which somehow, will always be assigned to you .” (Coates, 73) He expressed the mentality of his oppressors that remove their individual identities in favour of a systematic “white and black” duality of “us against them” in which the historical continue. Coates also states that “race is the child of racism, not the father”(7) and that the white people are “a modern invention” (9) as the new people “were something else before they were white- Catholics, Corsican , Welsh … Jewish.” (9) Coates undermines the base of racism condemning the term”white” are in fact something else such as Catholic or Jewish, then black people can be seen for once as human.
Coates thinks that the American dream as a lie because it does not apply to all Americans. The “dream” is at the expense of the African Americans and a scapegoat for the white to continue victimizing the blacks. He holds that the white’s supremacy has killed the dream of equality. He used the dream to show the tranquility that is used to encourage racial brutality among the African Americans. Coates also had a goal to dispose of the myths animated in the American Dream. He disagrees with the views of the world through Martin Luther King’s dream.