Tuesday, October 18, 2011

"Heritage"--Countee Cullen

This poem started out by describing an Africa that seemed perfect, such as the copper sun or scarlet sea, but once Cullen starts describing it further on, his true vision of Africa comes out. I think that he wants to describe Africa as a good humble place, but at the same time he can't because he hasn't ever been there. Like in the third section, he says that Africa is only a book that he looks through, which to me seemed like he only would read about this country, but since he was torn from it he never truly found out what it was like.
Also, throughout the poem he makes himself seem like he has been "Americanized" because he names things like birds being barbaric. Also,he doesn't feel like he can identify himself with Africa because he doesn't have an emotional tie to it. Like in the third stanza towards the end he says, "What is last years snow to me,/ Last years anything?" With these lines, he tries to say that he doesn't belong to Africa, but he doesn't belong to America either. He is sort of caught dead in the middle of the two countries he knows.
Cullen also mentions that he wishes that God could have been of his color so that He could have related to him easier. This could also show that even in religion, colored people didn't really have  a choice in what they believed in because everything was already set down in rules and customs. He also dares to question whether God has done right with all the things of the world and he also doubts himself towards God. To me he seems very segregated from everyone even when slavery had been done away with already. 

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