Black Arts & Literature 2013 – 06
19 September 2014
Reading Response “The Harlem Dancer”
Harlem was the largest city for migration of African Americans, amongst the variety of blacks that strived for opportunity. The blacks divided between classes; through middle and lower classes. The middle class is what was described as comfortable; educated, with well off jobs. The lower class suffered in poverty; lack of education and jobs.
The Harlem Dancer by Claude Mckay, describes young people entertained at nightclubs in Harlem. A scene in the poem is described by a young man watching with prostitutes a young women dance. “Applauding youths laughed with young prostitutes and watched her perfect, half- clothed body sway;” The poem identifies a young women who came across an opportunity to meet ends meet through dance. The way the young lady dance, expresses that she has no shame for what she is doing. “To me it seemed a proudly- swaying palm.” This also states her over coming hard times have made her proud of what she does. “grown lovelier passing through the storm.” Though there were hardships that the young girl experienced, her beauty shined in which she would not be able to attain through that time. Focusing more of the dancer herself, the poet compares her voice to a sound of a music instrument. “Her voice was like the sound of blended flutes.”
As I read the piece I understood that nothing has changed since the writing of this text in