The Harlem Renaissance By Edward Christopher Williams

Decent Essays

The Harlem Renaissance represented a time of an intense battle between feminine self-expression, self-discovery and the resistance of change and traditional values. It produced a wellspring of differing opinions, beliefs, and styles, arguably launching one of the greatest forms of artistic expression for the African American woman and American culture in general. Edward Christopher Williams’s novel When Washington Was In Vogue, is an excellent example of how this struggle between conformity and non-conformity manifested itself into the seductive body of the modern flapper, namely, Caroline Rhodes and how her transformation throughout the narrative reflected a desire to maintain the traditional roles meant for women and the preservation for the African American, ultimately dismissing the modern flapper as a phase that would deteriorate shortly before the alter.
Caroline, as defined by narrator and love interest Davy Carr, has “the best and the worst points of the modern flapper” (Williams 8). She is highly intelligent and carries her racy behavior without a care or thought, which makes her and her actions unavoidably attractive as equally as they are disapproved and frowned on. While it is true that Caroline has a “this is 1922, the Middle Ages are over” attitude (25), she is described by Davy as a woman that does not make “the slightest outward show of culture in her ordinary social relations, [but] she has a quick and ready wit, and a perfectly uncanny fluency of speech, as

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