##judice And Inequality In Countee Cullen's Tableau And Incident

Decent Essays
Both poems, “Tableau” and “Incident”, were written by Countee Cullen during the African-American cultural, social, and artistic explosion known as the Harlem Renaissance. The overarching theme of “Tableau” and “Incident” is racial prejudice and inequality. Each poem is tells a powerful evocative story in three quatrains. Cullen’s poem “Tableau” addresses the acceptance of interracial relationships while “Incident” addresses the racial superiority of one race over another. Even though the poems tell different stories, they share a common idea of the need for acceptance and equality.
Tableau is defined by Merriam Webster’s dictionary as a group of motionless figures representing a scene from a story or from history. The poem “Tableau” does just that. “Tableau” uses powerful imagery to draw the reader into the scene. Cullen paints a vivid picture of a black boy and a white boy by using metaphors like “sable pride of night” and “golden splendor of the day” to highlight the stark contrast between the two boys. Additionally, he describes them as “locked arm in arm” as they cross the street indignantly ignoring the disapproving glances “from lowered blinds the dark folks stare” and oblivious to the “fair folk talk” (Cullen 1,5,6). Imagery like this makes the reader feel as if they are watching the event as it is taking place. As if the reader could turn to the right and see white people whispering to one another as the boys passed or turn to the left to briefly see
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