Importance of African American Literature Addressing the Black Experience

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The role of African American literature in recent years has been to illuminate for the modern world the sophistication and beauty inherent in their culture as well as the constant struggle they experience in the oppressive American system. When writers such as Langston Hughes, W.E.B. DuBois and Alice Walker present their material, they manage to convey to a future world the great depth of feeling and meaning their particular culture retained as compared with the culture of their white counterparts. Without this attempt at preservation, much of the richness of this community might have been lost or forgotten. At the same time, they illuminated some of the problems inherent within their society, including lack of education, lack of…show more content…
This imagery includes “splinters, / And boards torn up, / And places with no carpet on the floor” (4-6). The character’s language paints a very real picture of an old and dangerous stairway that provides little in the way of support and is constantly threatening harm. The details such as splinters force one to think of sudden sharp pains in unexpected places while the torn up boards introduce ideas of sudden instability and lean times. The road of life has not been full of comfort either, as the carpet is thin or even missing from entire segments, but still the older woman continued to climb, “And reachin’ landin’s, / And turnin’ corners, / And sometimes goin’ in the dark” (10-12). The life depicted thus provides few safe havens in the form of ‘landin’s’, if all the boards are in place, but more frequently prove difficult in their own way as they introduce corners and sections that must be navigated completely in ignorance. Picturing trying to climb this twisting stairway, it is easy to see how this life has been littered with all kinds of difficult trials and tribulations, but also sprinkled with comfort in the idea that the floor was covered with carpet sometimes and rest in the concept that she came across landings sometimes. The language used by the old woman further supports the
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