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"If We Must Die" by Claude Mckay

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Briana Burt

on 9 April 2014

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Transcript of "If We Must Die" by Claude Mckay

Rhyme Scheme:
"If We Must Die"
Claude McKay
Born in Sunny Ville, Clarendon Parish, Jamaica, on September 15 1890. The youngest of eleven children, McKay was sent at an early age to live with his oldest brother, a schoolteacher, so that he could be given the best education available. An avid reader, McKay began to write poetry at the age of ten. By the time he immigrated to the United States in 1912, McKay had established himself as a poet, publishing two volumes of dialect verse. He studied at the Tuskegee Institute and Kansas State College for a total of two years. He embraced Catholicism and officially became an American citizen in 1940. He died of a heart attack on May 22, 1948
A response to racial violence, "If We Must Die" embraces all oppressed and challenged people to fight heroically back against those who seek to oppress and destroy them.
Briana Burt - 3
"If We Must Die" by Claude Mckay
iambic pentameter
five (x /)
"if WE must DIE, let IT not BE like HOGS"
Shakespearean Sonnet
Figurative Language:
: comparison between the speaker and his men and hogs.
: to describe the hogs and their coming death
: "if we must die"
"If We Must Die"

The title shows the desperation of a situation that may seem like there is no choice for the speaker but there is,
to die. McKay is saying that even in the bleakest of times, we can find an opportunity to live with free will and dignity.
Full transcript