Analysis Of Claude Mckay 's If We Must Die

1141 WordsApr 14, 20155 Pages
Claude McKay is known as a great writer because he wrote from his heart. Whether he was writing about his love for his Jamaican homeland or the injustices he saw as a black man in the United States, his use of passionate language is what made his writings resonate with readers from all backgrounds. He wrote “If We Must Die” following the Red Summer of 1919, a series of race riots that took place between May and October. In those five months, thousands of African-Americans were hunted and persecuted, leaving those who survived fearful. McKay wrote to rally and motivate his fellow African-Americans not to give up, but rather to stand and fight. He follows the pattern of a Shakespearean sonnet and uses figurative language, such as a metaphor and simile to show that there is courage in facing adversity. The Red Summer of 1919 was caused by labor shortages, the Great Migration, and racial strife. Labor shortages arose during World War I, when every able white male enlisted in the Army and the United States government stopped European immigration. In order to fulfill the job shortages and escape Jim Crow laws, as well as the burden of segregation, 500,000 African-Americans moved from the South to the Northern and Midwestern cities. This Great Migration, caused racial strife as the white working-class began to resent the presence of African-Americans in the work force. The riots began in Charleston, South Carolina in May and continued until October, spanning over 26

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