Racism in Literature Essay

2573 Words 11 Pages
Literature Analysis


Most literature authors write stories on different genres like poems, stories, and plays. These works are written using a variety of elements of literature for instance setting, themes, conflict, and characters. The following essay discusses the element of racism as a theme in Margaret Laurence’s short story “The Loons,” Langston Hughes’ poem, I Too, Sing America, and W.E.B Du Bois’ book, “The Souls of Black Folk.”
“The Loons” is a short story that was done by Margaret Laurence together with other stories in the sequence “A bird in the House” and was published in 1970. The story centers on the narrator and the main character Vanessa McLeod, a white girl and her youth days in a fictional town known as Manawaka
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This is a clear indicator of social prejudice. Piquette’s attitude and world is misinterpreted and misunderstood because the dominant whites chose so. Beth, Vanessa’s mother also feels that Piquettes’s company will affect her children. Vanessa’s father’ good intention of inviting Piquette to their holiday trips illustrates the theme of racism and social alienation in the story.
Piquette refuses to acknowledge the invitation to play with Vanessa. Vanessa asks her “want to come and play?” She retorts sharply with a scorn “I ain’t kid” much to Vanessa’s surprise (Laurence, 2001). This illustrates the nasty experiences of racial and social alienation that Vanessa has gone through. She does not want to be friendly to the whites. The Métis are a rejected lot and she feels things should remain the way they are. This shows that she had been hurt by the whites and does not trust any of them. Piquette feels that she can do nothing much when it comes to bridging the gap between the whites and the Métis and ignores all the attempts to socialize with Vanessa. The whites have a good life of luxury. The McLeod’s have a cottage on Lake Diamond. They can afford to spend on holidays while the socially ostracized Métis live in despair, poverty, and illness.
Laurence uses irony to bring out the theme of racism. Vanessa’s father passes on due to pneumonia that he contracted during the trip to Diamond Lake. Ewen was a doctor who had…

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