An Eye Opener Essay

Submitted By Tiberiusmaximus
Words: 628
Pages: 3

An Eye Opener In poetry many authors captivate a particular memory or scene to portray a generalized attitude of society toward groups of people throughout history. The poem “The Lynching” by Claude McKay captivates the violence and racism of society towards African Americans in the twenty century through the depiction of a lynching. Through the use of imagery and diction McKay conveys the severity and gruesome reality of the violence towards African Americans both in the present and in the future. The speaker begins by describing the spiritual experience of the victim. In the first four lines of the poem McKay shows the relationship between God and the victim. The victim’s soul is portrayed as “ascending to high heaven” (1) to show that the victim is innocent in this event. The speaker describes the man’s death with the words “the cruelest way of pain” (2) in order to truly captivate the severity and gruesomeness of the crime. This line is placed between spiritual imagery to make the violence of the crime stand out and to affirm the theme of racism in the poem. The speaker describes that God “Had bidden him (the victim) to his bosom once again” in order to show that the African American is welcomed by God. In the eyes of God the victim is equal to all people and is treated as such. In contrast, God seems to reject those who lynched the man by calling their crime an “awful sin” that is “still unforgiven” (4). The speaker then describes a “bright and solitary star” to symbolize the North Star that the slaves used to guide themselves to the Union. The speaker further describes the star as “the one that ever guided him, Yet gave him up at last to Fate’s wild whim” to show that although African Americans have been freed of slavery, they are unable to escape the violence and racism that they now face. McKay also depicts the views of society through the dehumanizing aspects of the body that “Hung pitifully o’er the swinging char.” The victim is depicted as a “ghastly body” (10) that “the mixed crowds came to view” (9); the people see the victim as nothing more than a spectacle. McKay describes the women’s eyes as being “steely blue” (12) to highlight that the reason behind their hatred comes from different physical traits. Their blue eyes are…