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The Dutchman: A Dramatic Expression of the Relationship Between Whites and Blacks

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Amiri Baraka’s The Dutchman would be considered a historical allegory that could be understood as this poetic and dramatic expression of the relationship between whites and blacks throughout the existence of the United States. These patterns of history are symbolically acted out by the two characters Lula and Clay; Lula represents white America and Clay seems to stand for the modern day Uncle Tom, who has over time been shaped by white America and this slave mentality. The beginning Stage directions seem to form this poem in it of itself. The first line establishes the mythic qualities of the play. “In the flying underbelly of the city. Steaming hot and summer on top, outside. Underground. The subway heaped in modern myth.”…show more content…
Though the most significant stage property that Baraka uses is the symbol of apples. “Eating apples is always the first step” (1087) the apple symbol represents the temptations of promises that white society offered to blacks, while these promises actually demeaned the dignity of blacks. Baraka uses the character Lula as a devise to mock Clay as being a supposed Uncle Tom. You look like you have been trying to grow a bear. That’s exactly what you look like. You look like you live in New Jersey with your parents and are trying to grow a beard. That’s what. You look like you’ve been reading Chinese poetry and drinking lukewarm sugarless tea. You look like death eating a soda cracker. (1087) Lula seems to be stating here that Clay is the new integrated and socially acceptable black man, unlike the character of an Uncle Tom from Harriet Breecher Stowe, who is trying to ignore his identity that he was born with and manhood. Baraka seems to be mocking Clay for his attempt to become one with the system of whites, because he was very much against, “being white”. Soda cracker seems to suggest a white person in this context, so the “death eating a soda cracker” is implying what Baraka would consider as the black man’s continuing metaphorical and psychological prostitution to the exploitive white society by conforming to the society’s definition of identity. How the
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