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"My City" by James Weldon Johnson Presentation

American Lit 4
by

Alice Yi

on 10 March 2016

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Transcript of "My City" by James Weldon Johnson Presentation

Relevance to the Present
Our Interpretation
The Themes
James Weldon Johnson
(1871-1938)
Born in Jacksonville, Florida on June 17, 1871 and died on June 26, 1938.
Graduated college from Atlanta University.
Founder of "The Daily American" newspaper.
First African-American to pass the Florida Bar.
Lawyer, teacher, songwriter, diplomat, and civil rights activist, as well as one of the leading figures in the creation of and development of the Harlem Renaissance.
His published work during the Harlem Renaissance was "The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man (1912)" and "God's Trombones (1927)."
Thank you for listening!
Speaker: James Weldon Johnson
African American Experience
First Stanza
Second Stanza
Hint at death- "sleep death's endless night"

What he might miss:
the trees
the smell of the flowers
the sound of the singing birds
the flashing streams
the patient herds
Johnson describes what he'll truly miss:
Manhattan
the sights
the sounds
the smells
the people
the towers
the avenues
the slums
The Message
Once Johnson dies he will dearly miss his city of Manhattan and all of its unique elements; rather than the nature within the city.

He loves the city very much and to not be subsumed in Manhattan is something that he wouldn't like to experience.
Qualities of Writing
During the Harlem Renaissance
Hyperbole
"When I come down to
sleep death's endless night
"
Imagery
"Will it be that no more I shall
see the trees
/ Or
smell the flowers
or
hear the singing birds
/ Or
watch the flashing streams

or patient herds
?"

"When this
bright world blur on my fading sight
?"

"
Manhattan's sights and sounds
,
her smells
,
Her crowds
, her throbbing force, the thrill that comes/ From being of her a part, her subtle spells,/
Her shining towers
,
her avenues
,
her slums
---"
Alliteration
"When this
bright world blurs
on my fading sight?"
"From being of her a part, her
subtle spells
"
"Manhattan's
sights and sounds
"
Personification & Repetition
"What to me then will be the
keenest
loss"

"Manhattan's sights and sounds,
her
smells
,/
Her

crowds,

her
throbbing force
, the thrill that comes/ From being of her a part,
her

subtle spells
,/

Her
shining towers,
her
avenues,

her
slums
---"
Consonance
"When I come down to
sleep death's endless
night"
"
Manhattan's sights and sounds, her smells"

Assonance
"What to
me then will be
the keenest loss"
Parallelism
"Will it be that no more I shall see the trees/
Or smell the flowers or hear the singing birds/ Or watch the flashing streams or patient herds
?"
Manhattan is now a modernized city rich in business and luxury; however, one should appreciate how Manhattan came to be before one grows fond of its present situations, because one can never truly admire the city without an understanding of its foundations.
New York introduced new experiences and opportunities for African Americans.

The transition into the modern era brought excitement, joy, anticipation, and a flood of such emotions.

People pursued careers in the arts and expressed their feelings without much oppression.
Annotation of "My City"
by James Weldon Johnson
Attachment
People love their city so much that it is so hard for them to let go of it. They feel so connected and that they could not be unattached.
Appreciation
The first stanza explains what someone would miss when they die, and so the second stanza shows that people should appreciate and enjoy every single moment of what you love before it's all gone.
Poem Presentation: "My City"
By: Alice Yi & Lars Peterson

Urbanity
"But, ah! Manhattan's sights and sounds, her...her avenues, her slums---" - he is lucky to have economic freedom and happiness in Manhattan and so he cherishes every day.
Full transcript