Analysis Of Incident By Countee Cullen

977 Words4 Pages
Countee Cullen’s “Incident” is a short, but immensely powerful poem. Cullen is an African American male, whom manages to capture hundreds of years of oppression and mental destruction of his race within twelve lines; detailing his memory of the first time he was called a nigger. Cullen introduces the thought that said mental abuse begins young, but he presents it in an almost sugarcoated or coded way that forces you to consider his words more in depth; leading to the same unpleasant conclusion every time. Being a mother of interracial children, this poems message struck me as immediately important to the fulfilling futures of African Americans (and other people of color), while simultaneously threatening the possibilities of a harmonious society, nation or world period; simply stemming from ignorance and/or miseducation. Emily Bernard’s “Teaching the N-word”, Neal Lester’s “Sticks and Stones may break my bones” and Cullen’s “Incident” all exemplify remnants of mental innocence being ripped away far too early, and just how long the demons that result can linger for the victim. In this essay, I will explore these instances further in an effort to explain how proper education, reprimands, and active positive parenting can reverse this spewing volcano of racial hate and division we call and have called our society for hundreds of years. “Heart-filled, Head-filled with glee,” was a line that originally held no significance for me upon my first reading of the poem “Incident”. The
Get Access