A Powerful Enduring Bond of Affection
An influential Renaissance writer, James Weldon Johnson, composed a poem “My City” that reflects on his hometown, Manhattan, where he mentions how much the city means to him when he passes away and the losses he will have. Through the uses of diction, symbolism, repetitions, capitalizations, punctuations, personifications, and lots of sensory images, he emphasizes tone and conveys a powerful theme to the reader that the ones we love most and being appreciated to what we have is important because these are not just some possessions, people, and places that hang around for awhile but they are gifts that we should value and cherish before it is too late and gone from existence to witness.
James Weldon Johnson usage of diction, sensory imagery, and symbolism in referring to the city he describes and personifies it like a female “Manhattan’s sights and sounds, her smells, her crowds, her throbbing force, her subtle spells, her shining towers, her avenues, her slums” expresses a very descriptive beautiful place and a strong connection of love for his city to illustrate a tone of grief and loss when he dies and leaves the world and misses his city. After leaving the world, he enters a pathway from life to death in quoting “When I come down to sleep death’s endless night” to “The threshold of the unknown dark to cross”. The title “My City” is not a regular city but the author’s passion, admiration, love,