Presentation on theme: "A SONG is but a little thing, And yet what joy it is to sing! In hours of toil it gives me zest, And when at eve I long for rest; When cows come home."— Presentation transcript:
A SONG is but a little thing, And yet what joy it is to sing! In hours of toil it gives me zest, And when at eve I long for rest; When cows come home along the bars, And in the fold I hear the bell, As Night, the shepherd, herds his stars, I sing my song, and all is well. From “The Poet and his Song” by Paul Dunbar
Language and Literature Further Oral Activity Paul Dunbar: Hear His Voice…
A Poet A Playwright A Novelist A Lyricist But there’s more
An African American from the late 19 th century ( ) A Child of Escaped Slaves The first nationally acclaimed African American poet in US history
The child of a Union Soldier, one who fought for his country’s freedom
The son of a dedicated mother who taught herself to read so she could teach her son
His parents instilled in him a love of learning and history. He was the only black student at an all- white high school, Dayton Central High. During high school, he was both the editor of the school newspaper and class president, as well as the president of the school literary society. As a student….
As a writer He wrote his first poem at age 6 His first poem was published at the age of 18 His first book of poetry was published at the age of 20 He toured the US and Europe as a writer and poet and received international acclaim as a writer and lecturer He died at the age of 33 of tuberculosis, ending a successful career at a tragically short age.
He wrote in both Standard English and in Black English Vernacular Why?
The style of English he chose was determined by topic and purpose
Dreams In Standard English
WHAT dreams we have and how they fly Like rosy clouds across the sky; Of wealth, of fame, of sure success, Of love that comes to cheer and bless; And how they wither, how they fade, The waning wealth, the jilting jade -- The fame that for a moment gleams, Then flies forever, --dreams, ah --dreams !
O burning doubt and long regret O tears with which our eyes are wet, Heart-throbs, heart-aches, the glut of pain, The somber cloud, the bitter rain, You were not of those dreams -- ah! well, Your full fruition who can tell? Wealth, fame, and love, ah! love that beams Upon our souls, all dreams -- ah! dreams.
Why did Dunbar use Standard English and to what effect in this poem ?
The poem was written for an educated, literary audience The vocabulary of the poem is formal and somewhat elevated: “Waning” “Jilited”“Somber”“Fruition” Standard English Used by Dunbar in the poem:
The poem was written as a traditional poem, using the standard devices of English verse WHAT dreams we have and how they fly Like rosy clouds across the sky; Of wealth, of fame, of sure success, Of love that comes to cheer and bless; Standard Rhyme Scheme Used by Dunbar in the poem:
The poem uses both first and second person to emphasize the universality of the subject matter What dreams we have and how they fly You were not of those dreams -- ah! well, Your full fruition who can tell? 1 st and 2 nd person plural point of view used by Dunbar in the poem:
The result is a fairly formal, traditional two stanza poem written about a universal theme for an educated audience who can appreciate both the ideas presented and the hallmarks of standard poetic form From “The Poet and his Song” by Paul Dunbar
W'en Dey Listed Colored Soldiers
Dey was talkin' in de cabin, dey was talkin' in de hall; But I listened kin' o' keerless, not a-t'inkin' 'bout it all; An' on Sunday, too, I noticed, dey was whisp' rin' mighty much Stan'in' all erroun' de roadside w'en dey let us out o' chu'ch. But I did n't t'ink erbout it 'twell de middle of de week, An' my 'Lias come to see me, an' somehow he could n't speak. Den I seed all in a minute whut he'd come to see me for; -- Dey had 'listed colo'ed sojers an' my 'Lias gwine to wah.
Oh, I hugged him, an' I kissed him, an' I baiged him not to go; But he tol' me dat his conscience, hit was callin' to him so, An' he could n't baih to lingah w'en he had a chanst to fight For de freedom dey had gin him an' de glory of de right. So he kissed me, an' he lef' me, w'en I'd p'omised to be true; An' dey put a knapsack on him, an' a coat all colo'ed blue. So I gin him pap's ol' Bible f'om de bottom of de draw', - W'en dey 'listed colo'ed sojers an' my 'Lias went to wah.
But I t'ought of all de weary miles dat he would have to tramp, An' I could n't be contented w'en dey tuk him to de camp. W'y my hea't nigh broke wid grievin' 'twell I seed him on de street; Den I felt lak I could go an' th'ow my body at his feet. For his buttons was a-shinin', an' his face was sinin', too, An' he looked so strong an' mighty in his coat o' sojer blue, Dat I hollahed, "Step up, manny," dough my th'oat was so' an' raw, W'en dey 'listed colo'ed sojers an' my 'Lias went to wah.
Ol' Mis' cried w'en mastah lef' huh, young Miss mou'ned huh brothah Ned, An' I did n't know dey feelin's is de ve'y wo'ds dey said W'en I tol' 'em I was so'y. Dey had done gin up dey all; But dey only seemed mo' proudah dat dey men had hyeahed de call. Bofe my mastahs went in gray suits, an' I loved de Yankee blue, But I t'ought dat I could sorrer for de losin' of 'em too; But I could n't, for I did n't know de ha'f o' whut I saw, 'Twell dey 'listed colo'ed sojers an' my 'Lias went to wah.
Mastah Jack come home all sickly; he was broke for life, dey said; An' dey lef' my po' young mastah some'r's on de roadside, - dead. W'en de women cried an' mou'ned 'em, I could feel it thoo an' thoo, For I had a loved un fightin' in de way o' dangah, too. Den dey tol' me dey had laid him some'r's way down souf to res', Wid de flag dat he had fit for shinin' daih acrost his breas'. Well, I cried, but den I reckon dat 's whut Gawd had called him for, W'en dey 'listed colo'ed sojers an' my 'Lias went to wah.
How and why did Dunbar use the “Negro dialect” (his words) and to what effect in this poem ?
The poem was written to be read aloud, to be heard as well as seen, like a story Words Written Phonetically “Baiged”(begged)“Bair” (bear) “Lak” (like) “Dey” (they) Dialectal Techniques Used by Dunbar in the poem:
The poem was written to mimic actual speech patterns of users of Black English Words with letters omitted to mimic speech patterns of the narrator “tol em” (told them) “Lias” (Elias”) “moan’ed” (moarned) Dialectal Techniques Used by Dunbar in the poem:
The poem was written to mimic actual speech patterns of users of Black English Use of first person with references to her “mastah” and “let us out of church” that indicate lifestyle (she was a slave) and a Christian Dialectal Techniques Used by Dunbar in the poem:
Use of historical references to give the poem a distinct setting, to place in a specific time and place “Bofe my mastahs went in gray suits, an' I loved de Yankee blue” refers to the color of the uniforms of the two sides in the US civil war Dialectal Techniques Used by Dunbar in the poem:
The result is a lyrical poem written in the style of both a story and a song that used a dialect of English that reflects the narrator’s voice and the subject matter. It was written for an audience who can appreciate the use of dialect to create a historical, From “The Poet and his Song” by Paul Dunbar
Dunbar’s uneasy ideas about using dialect: Much of Dunbar's work was authored in conventional English, while some was rendered in African-American dialect. Dunbar remained always suspicious that there was something demeaning about the marketability of dialect poems. EnglishAfrican-American dialect
One interviewer reported that Dunbar told him, "I am tired, so tired of dialect", though he is also quoted as saying, "my natural speech is dialect" and "my love is for the Negro pieces".
Dunbar could use two Englishes to communicate and chose his language depending on audience, purpose, characters and style of poem
Paul Dunbar was a singular voice of his time
telling the stories of his own people
while communicating the hopes and dreams of all people