LeRoi Jones better known as Amiri Baraka is a magnificent writer and n
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LeRoi Jones better known as Amiri Baraka is a magnificent writer, and not only that, he has a flare for story telling like no other. Baraka uses vivid images, syntax, and provoking language to maintain his audiences' attention in his play The Dutchman. The aspects of the play that caught my attention the most was Baraka using a white woman to represent this racist and deceitful society we call America. Baraka also uses sexual inuendos, and the biggest taboo of them all an interracial sexual relationship between a black man and white woman as a metaphor to reinforce how African American's and Caucasians shield themselves from the harsh realities of the world in order to remain sane. Baraka also touches upon the idea of how white people think they will be able to understand the Black experience when in fact they will never understand the psychological effects that African Americans have endured. The one thing that I want my audience to understand is the time period in which Baraka wrote this poem; It was 1964, and it was also in the heat of the civil rights movement. African Americans were also progressing in America, we were able to obtain an education equal to Caucasians, and we were taking full advantage of these opportunities.
Throughout this play there are many instances where Baraka uses imagery to visually entice his audience. The opening of the play does this,and is used to set up the scenery. "In the flying underbelly of the city. Steaming hot, and summer on top, outside. Underground. The subway heaped in modern myth." This introductory passage is filled with hidden messages and a vivid use of imagery. The words "underbelly,steaming,hot,on top,and underground" suggests not only sexual connotations, also gives off the impression that something is trying to be hidden because it is some eyes immoral. I have come to this conclusion because of the sexual nature of this play. When Baraka used this method of syntax he invited one to think of sex. Being in a steaming hot environment on top of someone's "under-belly" is to me expressing extremely erotic thoughts. The word underground makes all of these sexual desires seem like something that on would have to do without detection, thus the theory that I previously introduced interracial sexual relationships especially those between a black man and white woman is taboo. The last sentence of the passage enables the reader to obtain some insight as to what kind of genre this play should be viewed in. A myth is a traditional story that is passed on from one generation to the next. If one would apply that same rationale to the tradition of America, which for the purposes of this paper in regards to the play is to deform, African American's culture, history, and character. Taking in all the information that I have provided one should be prepared to enter Baraka's world.
Scene one begins with Lula a thirty year-old white woman who seems to instantaneously approach Clay a college educated twenty-year old black man in a sexual manner. In order to grasp Clays attention Lula ask does she excite him. Clay finds it extremely hard to respond to such a comment. Lula goes on to provoke Clay even more by making comments like "Would you like to get involved with me, Mister Man?" In keeping with the theme that Lula is a representation of America we can draw the conclusion that America entices people with the promise of "liberty and justice for all", and it is all just propaganda.
There is another aspect in scene one that deserves further discussion. At the end of scene one Lula makes a four-line statement that can be the focus of another paper. "And we'll pretend the people cannot see you. That is, citizens. And that you are free of your own history. And I am free of my history. We'll pretend that we are both anonymous beauties smashing along through the city's entrails." I feel that this quote is a great representation of how African American's feel disregarded in America due to the institutionalization of White Supremacy. When Lula says that the people cannot see you-that is citizens, she is referring to White Americans. Earlier in my paper I
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Dutchman, Amiri Baraka, Baraka, Luiz Incio Lula da Silva, Blues People, Ajamu Baraka
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