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Test #1 Harlem Renaissance English Department, Rutgers Fall 2010.

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1 Test #1 Harlem Renaissance English Department, Rutgers Fall 2010

2 Part 1: Identifications Instructions: After reading the passage, circle the choice that accurately reflects its author and the work from which it came.

3 Question 1 I remember well when the shadow swept across me. I was a little thing, away up in the hills of New England, where the dark Housatonic winds between Hoosac and Taghkanic to the sea. In a wee wooden schoolhouse, something put it into the boys' and girls' heads to buy gorgeous visiting-cards--ten cents a package--and exchange. The exchange was merry, till one girl, a tall newcomer, refused my card,--refused it peremptorily, with a glance. Then it dawned upon me with a certain suddenness that I was different from the others; or like, mayhap, in heart and life and longing, but shut out from their world by a vast veil. I had thereafter no desire to tear down that veil, to creep through; I held all beyond it in common contempt, and lived above it in a region of blue sky and great wandering shadows. That sky was bluest when I could beat my mates at examination-time, or beat them at a foot-race, or even beat their stringy heads. Alas, with the years all this fine contempt began to fade; for the words I longed for, and all their dazzling opportunities, were theirs, not mine. A) Black no More by George Schuyler B) Home to Harlem by Claude McKay C) “The Negro Artist and the Racial Mountain” by Claude McKay D) The Souls of Black Folk by W.E.B. Du Bois

4 Question 2 The radical labor organizer, refused permission to use the Knights of Nordica Hall because he was a Jew was prevented from holding a street meeting when someone started a rumor that he believed in dividing up property, nationalizing women, and was in addition an atheist. He freely admitted the first, laughed at the second and proudly proclaimed the third. That was sufficient to inflame the mill hands, although God had been strangely deaf to their prayers, they owned no property to divide and most of their women were so ugly that they had no fears that any outsiders would want to nationalize them. The disciple of Lenin and Trotsky vanished down the road with a crowd of emaciated workers at his heels. A) Black No More by George Schuyler B) Home to Harlem by Claude Mckay C) The Souls of Black Folk by W.E.B. Du Bois D) “Spunk” by Zora Neale Hurston

5 Question 3 But the Congo remained in spite of formidable opposition and foreign exploitation. The Congo was a real throbbing little Africa in New York [.…] The Congo was African in spirit and color. No white persons were admitted there. The proprietor knew his market […] you would go to the Congo and turn rioting loose in all the tenacious odors of service and the warm indigenous smell of Harlem. A) Home to Harlem by Claude McKay B) “Spunk” by Zora Neale Hurston C) “What if Africa to Me” by Countee Cullen D) Black no More by George Schuyler

6 Question 4 This, of course, is easily understood if one stops to realize that the Aframerican is merely a lampblacked Anglo-Saxon. If the European immigrant after two or three generations of exposure to our schools, politics, advertising, moral crusades, and restaurants becomes indistinguishable from the mass of Americans of the older stock (despite the influence of the foreign-language press), how much truer must it be of the sons of Ham who have been subjected to what the uplifters call Americanism for the last three hundred years. Aside from his color, which ranges from very dark brown to pink, your American Negro is just plain American. Negroes and whites from the same localities in this country talk, think, and act about the same. Because a few writers with a paucity of themes have seized upon imbecilities of the Negro rustics and clowns and palmed them off as authentic and characteristic Aframerican behavior, the common notion that the black American is so "different" from his white neighbor has gained wide currency. The mere mention of the word "Negro" conjures up in the average white American's mind a composite stereotype of Bert Williams, Aunt Jemima, Uncle Tom, Jack Johnson, Florian Slappey, and the various monstrosities scrawled by the cartoonists. A) “Introduction” to The New Negro by Alain Locke B) Black no More by George Schuyler C) “The Negro Art Hokum” by George Schuyler D) “The Negro Artist and the Racial Mountain” by Langston Hughes

7 Question 5 After adornment the next most striking manifestation of the Negro is Angularity. Everything the Negro touches becomes angular. In all African sculpture and doctrine of any sort we find the same thing. Anyone watching Negro dancers will be struck by the same phenomenon. Every posture is another angle. Pleasing, yes. But an effect achieve by the very mean which an European strives to avoid. A) “The Characteristics of Negro Expression” by Zora Neale Hurtson. B) “The Negro Artist and the Racial Mountain” by Langston Hughes C) “Introduction” to the New Negro by Alain Locke D) “Spunk” by Zora Neale Hurston

8 Question 6 If we must die, let it not be like hogs Hunted and penned in an inglorious spot, While round us bark the mad and hungry dogs, Making their mock at our accursed lot. If we must die, O let us nobly die, So that our precious blood may not be shed In vain; then even the monsters we defy Shall be constrained to honor us though dead! O kinsmen we must meet the common foe! Though far outnumbered let us show us brave, And for their thousand blows deal one deathblow! What though before us lies the open grave? Like men we'll face the murderous, cowardly pack, Pressed to the wall, dying, but fighting back! A) “Homesick Blues” by Langston Hughes B) “Heritage” by Countee Cullen C) “If We Must Die” Claude McKay D) “Russian Cathedral” by Claude McKay

9 Question 7 De railroad bridge’s A sad song in de air. De railroad bridge’s A sad song in de air Ever times the trains pass I want to go somewhere A) “Homesick Blues” by Langston Hughes B) “Russian Cathedral” by Claude McKay C) “Heritage” by Countee Cullen D) “Spunk” by Countee Cullen

10 Question 8 Let the blare of Negro jazz bands and the bellowing voice of Bessie Smith singing Blues penetrate the closed ears of the colored near-intellectuals until they listen and perhaps understand. Let Paul Robeson singing Water Boy, and Rudolph Fisher writing about the streets of Harlem, and Jean Toomer holding the heart of Georgia in his hands, and Aaron Douglas drawing strange black fantasies cause the smug Negro middle class to turn from their white, respectable, ordinary books and papers to catch a glimmer of their own beauty. We younger Negro artists who create now intend to express our individual dark- skinned selves without fear or shame. If white people are pleased we are glad. If they are not, it doesn't matter. We know we are beautiful. And ugly too. The tom-tom cries and the tom-tom laughs. If colored people are pleased we are glad. If they are not, their displeasure doesn't matter either. We build our temples for tomorrow, strong as we know how, and we stand on top of the mountain, free within ourselves. A) Home to Harlem by Claude McKay B) “The Negro Artist and the Racial Mountain” by Langston Hughes C) Introduction” to The New Negro by Alain Locke D) Black no More by George Schuyler

11 Question 9 Bow down my soul and let the wondrous light Of Beauty bathe thee from her lofty throne Bow down before the wonder of man’s might. Bow down in worship, humble and alone; Bow lowly down before the sacred sight Of man’s divinity alive in stone A) “Russian Cathedral” by Claude McKay B) “Heritage” by Countee Cullen C) “Homesick Blues” by Langston Hughes D) “If we Must Die” by Claude McKay”

12 Question 10 What is Africa to me: Cooper sun, a scarlet sea, Jungle star and jungle track, Strong bronzed men and regal black Women from whom loins I sprang When the birds of Eden Sang? One three centuries removed From the scenes his father loved Spicy grove and banyan tree, What is Africa to me? A) “Heritage” by Countee Cullen B) “Russian Cathedral” by Claude McKay C) “Spunk” by Zora Neale Hurston D)“Africa?” by Countee Cullen

13 Part II- Essay Directions: Pick one of the following 4 options/slides. You will see that each provides a brief citation from one of the poems, stories, novels, or essays we’ve read together. First, identify the author of the passage and the work from which the passage comes (if it is not already provided). Second, write a one to one and a half page essay (double spaced in times new roman font) providing an in-depth analysis of the passage just like we’ve been doing in class. There are talking points to get you started, but DO NOT try to respond to all of them. Rather, pick one (or none) to get you started. Tips: In order to “rock” this portion of the essay, you will need to do a few things. 1) Provide an ORIGINAL interpretation of the passage (NO REGURGITATION). 2) This interpretation should make a concrete argument about how the author deploys literary language to convey complex meaning. In order to accomplish this text, you must back up your points with analyses that draw evidence from textual citation.

14 Snowstorm in Pittsburgh: The Possibilities and Problematic of a Black Internationalism, Race, Nation, Civilization Sleep remained cold and distant. Intermittently the cooks broke their snoring with masticating noises of their fat lips, like animals eating. Ray fixed his eyes on the offensive bug-bitten bulk of the chef. These men claimed kinship with him. Man and nature had put them in the race. He ought to love them and feel them (if he felt anything). Yet he loathed every soul in the great barrack-room, except Jake. Race…. Why should he have to love a race? Races and nations were things like skunks, whose smells poisoned the air of life. Yet civilized mankind reposed its faith and future in their ancient. Silted channels. He remembered when little Hayti was floundering uncontrolled, how proud he was to be the son of a free nation. He used to feel condescendingly sorry for those poor African natives; superior to ten millions of suppressed Yankee “coons.” Now he was just one of them and he hated being just one of them…. But he was not entirely of them, he reflected. He possessed a language and literature that they knew not of. And some day Uncle Sam might let go of his island and he would escape from the clutches of that magnificent monster of civilization [….] “We may be niggers aw’right, but we ain’t nonetall all the same,” Jake said as he hurried along the dining car thinking of Ray. Talking Points 1)Race and nation were, at one time, synonymous terms. What do you make of Ray’s internal conflict here: he feels he “ought” to love the men who claim “kinship” with him and yet has a great distaste for feeling as though he must “love”? Is this a simple back and forth? Or is something more going on here? What role does the fact that Ray is delusional in this chapter play on our interpretation of his machinations and memories? 2)In Haiti, Ray drew distinctions between members of the Diaspora and himself as a proud Haitian nationalist. Now, displaced, he finds himself both one and not one of them. What do you make of the polemical and metaphorical importance of this shift? 3)What is the magnificent monster of civilization? The U.S.? If so, why does the narrator differentiate it from Uncle Sam? How does the final sentence of the first passage reposition primitivism by displacing essentialism? 4)What is the metaphorical resonance of Jake’s last sentence vis-à-vis the concept of difference in unity?

15 Talking Points 1) Heraclites, Time, and Rivers: Is Hughes employing the Classical trope? Or is something else going on here If so, what? 2) How and where do we locate the poem’s persona? For whom does this “I” speak? 3) How does time work in this poem? 4) How does the poem position history vis-à-vis “the soul” of the persona? 5) How does this positioning reflect Locke’s (not the poet here) commitment to investigating Africa as a vehicle for awakening African American self-consciousness?

16 Talking Points 1) Sorrow Songs: Cultural Production as Shared History 2) The question of Africa American origins: Southern or African? 3) To whom does the song of the son belong? 4) What themes are invoked by Toomer ‘s use of natural elements as symbols? (soil, trees, seeds) 5) Why does Toomer’s persona speak of a “partial soul” in song? 6) Continuity and Change: How is time positioned in this poem?

17 A Practical Prank Talking Points 1)Ray begins by asserting a distinction between knowledge gained from “theories” and knowledge gained “in life.” He seems to exclude the Negro from the locale of the theorist, but he does so while espousing a theory. How does the passage resolve this seeming paradox? What does this resolution suggest about the nature of this other education--one away from fine feelings--and its socio political and economic tenets? 2)What is the rhetorical impact of the division Ray makes between “educated and cultivated people” and the imagined community that educates themselves away from them? Who is being indicted? What cultural processes and conflicts are being called into (and perhaps criticized) here? 3)Ray rejects the notion that Grant’s idea that education makes you fine (as well as the very idea of fine feelings) in very telling socio-political terms. What are they? What political discourses do they invoke? What words in the passage invoke these discourses? 4)The political discourse that Ray does invoke is juxtaposed against his remarks about civilization (which in turn invoke primitivism) in such a way as to yoke the two together. What is the rhetorical and political import of this tie? How does is redefine primitivism, or does it? 5)Play Ray!! Why can’t man be civilized and not have “the disease of pimps in his heart”? What does this suggest about how Ray’s understanding of “civilization.”? What ironic role does the term “parasites” play in this passage? Why would civilization make Grant hollow inside if he made a virtue of them? 6)What is the metaphorical resonance of the “dead stuff” to which Ray points? Why does McKay note that these ideas and ideals are the inheritance of a people who have tossed them away? How does rotting play into all of this? 7)What rhetorical purpose does the ambiguity of Jakes final line in this passage serve? A Practical Prank “ Your feelings against that sort of thing are fine, James, said Ray. But that ’ s the most I could say for it. It ’ s all right to start out with nice theories from an advantageous point in life. But when you get a chance to learn life for yourself, it ’ s quite another thing. The things you call fine human traits don ’ t belong to any special class or nation or people. Nobody can pull that kind of talk now an get away with it, least of all a Negro. ” “ Why not? Asked Grant. “ Can ’ t a Negro have fine feelings about life? ” “ Yes, but not the old false-fine feelings that used to be monopolized by educated and cultivated people. You should educate yourself away from that sort of thing. ” “ But education is something to make you fine! ” “ No, modern education is planned to make you a sharp, snouty, rooting hog. A Negro getting it is an anachronism. We ought to get something new, we Negroes. But we get our education like — our houses. When the whites move out, we move in and take possession of dead stuff. Dead stuff that this age has no use for. ” “ How ’ s that? ” “ Can you ask? You and I were born in the midst of the illness of this age and have lived through its agony.... Keep your fine feelings, indeed but don ’ t try to make a virtue out of the,. They ’ ll become all hollow inside, false and dry as civilization itself. An civilization is rotten. We are all rotten who are touched by it. ” “ I am not rotten, ” retorted Grant, “ and I couldn ’ t bring myself and my ideas down to the levels of such filthy parasites. ” “ All men have the disease of pimps in their hearts, ” said Ray. “ He can ’ t be civilized and not. I have seen your high and mighty civilized people do things some people would be ashamed of —” “ You said it, the, most truly, ” cried Jake, who, lying in bed was intently following the dialogue.

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