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White Houses By: Claude McKay. Bio on Claude McKay Claude McKay was born in Jamaica in 1889 and he died in 1948 He was educated by his older brother,

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Presentation on theme: "White Houses By: Claude McKay. Bio on Claude McKay Claude McKay was born in Jamaica in 1889 and he died in 1948 He was educated by his older brother,"— Presentation transcript:

1 White Houses By: Claude McKay

2 Bio on Claude McKay Claude McKay was born in Jamaica in 1889 and he died in 1948 He was educated by his older brother, who had a library of English novels, poetry, and scientific texts. When he was 20, he published a book of verse called Songs of Jamaica. Here he portrayed his impression of black life in Jamaica. He wrote about the injustices of black life in America while also writing about his homeland and romantic love. He wrote a novel called Home to Harlem which became a best- seller. He moved to Harlem. His poetic achievements and viewpoints in the early 20 th century set the tone for the Harlem Renaissance.

3 White Houses Your door is shut against my tightened face, And I am sharp as steel with discontent; But I possess the courage and the grace To bear my anger proudly and unbent. The pavement slabs burn loose beneath my feet, A chafing savage, down the decent street; And passion rends my vitals as I pass, Where boldly shines your shuttered door of glass. Oh, I must search for wisdom every hour, Deep in my wrathful bosom sore and raw, And find in it the superhuman power To hold me to the letter of your law! Oh, I must keep my heart inviolate Against the potent poison of your hate.

4 Now _____ will read White Houses Your door is shut against my tightened face, And I am sharp as steel with discontent; But I possess the courage and the grace To bear my anger proudly and unbent. The pavement slabs burn loose beneath my feet, A chafing savage, down the decent street; And passion rends my vitals as I pass, Where boldly shines your shuttered door of glass. Oh, I must search for wisdom every hour, Deep in my wrathful bosom sore and raw, And find in it the superhuman power To hold me to the letter of your law! Oh, I must keep my heart inviolate Against the potent poison of your hate.

5 Thank You ________...

6 The Poem’s Speaker A black man in America A man who has endured much prejudice in his life Emotionally strong Righteous (Last 2 lines)

7 The Attitude of the Poem’s Speaker towards the Poem’s subject The poem’s subject -Racism Obviously against racism. (Discontent) Poisonous A threat to his life. Must overcome it.

8 The Poem’s Organization It is a Shakespearean Sonnet -However: The rhyme scheme is ababccddefefgg -Note: Shakespearean Sonnet rhymes ababcdcdefefgg It’s a sonnet: one stanza Iambic Pentameter There is a change in the last couplet

9 The Poem’s Organization The poem breaks down into 4 parts. Lines 1-4: The speaker introduces discrimination and racism. (“Your door is shut against my tightened face.”) He also tells us that he is unhappy but, he stays strong and does not let his anger show. Lines 5-8: The speaker tells the reader that he has experienced so much discrimination that the people look at him as a savage. Chafing from the burning pavement slabs which is the racism he encounters. This racism upsets him very much. The speaker realizes that white people decide to not help blacks even though they see racism in their everyday lives.

10 The Poem’s Organization Lines 9-12: The speaker deeply reveals how difficult it is for him to not retaliate and to stay strong. Every second he has to keep his emotions in check and find it in his “superhuman” power to not commit a crime. (“letter of your law”) Lines 13-14: In the last two lines, the speaker expresses his need to keep his heart inviolate (untouched) by racism. All of the hatred and discrimination enters his body but he needs to do everything in his power to make sure that this hatred does not penetrate his heart (or his soul). If he does let this hatred reach his heart it could be “deadly.”

11 Dominant Imagery Door -Symbolizes how the man is shut out from society. -Door is symbol of racism and prejudice. Chafing savage -Makes the man seem as subordinate to the rest of society that scorns him. The pavement slabs -Also discrimination and hatred. It is so hot that it burns his feet.

12 Dominant Imagery Shuttered door of glass -Shows that white people can look through this glass door and see the oppression of the black people. The shutters show that they decide to shut out racism and ignore the fact that it exists. Instead of trying to help the black community, they ignore the problem.

13 Diction and Syntax Language is simple and very strong. Simile: Sharp as steel. Alliteration: Potent poison A very passionate poem. Strong language portrays the emotion of the speaker.

14 Diction and Syntax Your door is shut against my tightened face, And I am sharp as steel with discontent; But I possess the courage and the grace To bear my anger proudly and unbent. Unbent did not fit in well. Maybe strong instead of unbent.

15 Diction and Syntax Oh, I must search for wisdom every hour, Deep in my wrathful bosom sore and raw, And find in it the superhuman power To hold me to the letter of your law! Oh, I must keep my heart inviolate Against the potent poison of your hate.

16 Conclusions This poem by Claude McKay is a poem about a man who constantly is discriminated against but he always manages to hold his head up high. The speaker does not like how others are protected in society by their “shuttered door of glass.” The most important thing to the man is that he keeps the hatred and racism out of his heart because it could be deadly.

17 Conclusions The Title –The title of this poem comes to represent the sturdiness of the white man in society (Sturdy as a house). However, the black man does not have a comfortable place in society and he has to constantly fight against this white superpower. The white door of glass is shuttered, ignoring the injustice of the black community. Racism exists, but no one is willing to help them.

18 White Houses Your door is shut against my tightened face, And I am sharp as steel with discontent; But I possess the courage and the grace To bear my anger proudly and unbent. The pavement slabs burn loose beneath my feet, A chafing savage, down the decent street; And passion rends my vitals as I pass, Where boldly shines your shuttered door of glass. Oh, I must search for wisdom every hour, Deep in my wrathful bosom sore and raw, And find in it the superhuman power To hold me to the letter of your law! Oh, I must keep my heart inviolate Against the potent poison of your hate.


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