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Countee Cullen Incident

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by

Jayda Martin

on 18 April 2013

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Transcript of Countee Cullen Incident

"INCIDENT" LITERARY DEVICES ABOUT CULLEN Possibly born on May 30, 1903 in Louisville, Kentucky
Adopted at age 15
Studied at NYU and Harvard University
He won Witter Bynner Poetry Prize at NYU
Married the daughter of W.E.B Du Bois, Yolande
Countee was a poet, anthologist, novelist, translator, children's writer, and playwright.
He liked to write traditional poetry with a purpose to prove blacks could write poetry.
His works were very much strongly related to racism. His primary goal was to bring America closer to racial harmony.
Countee Cullen was perhaps the most representative voice of the Harlem Renaissance. Once riding in old Baltimore,
Heart-filled, head-filled with glee,
I saw a Baltimorean
Keep looking straight at me.

Now I was eight and very small ,
And he was no whit bigger,
And so I smiled, but he poked out
His tongue, and called me, "Nigger."

I saw the whole of Baltimore
From May until December;
Of all the things that happened there
That's all that I remember. Harlem Renaissance ANALYSIS OF STANZAS Summary Incident By: Countee Cullen Jayda Martin
April 18, 2013 "And so I smiled, but he poked out His tongue, and called me, "Nigger."" The Harlem Renaissance was a cultural movement that began in the 1920's full of artistic and intellectual writers and musicians. Narrative poem
Autobiographical poem
Memoir
ABCB rhyme scheme
concrete diction The Harlem Renaissance influenced future generations of black writers, but it was largely ignored by the literary establishment after it waned in the 1930s. With the advent of the civil rights movement, it again acquired wider recognition. Langston Hughes Zora Neale Hurston This was the first time that mainstream publishers and critics took African American literature seriously and that African American literature and arts attracted significant attention from the nation at large. Although it was primarily a literary movement, it was closely related to developments in African American music, theater, art, and politics. Once riding in old Baltimore,
Heart-filled, head-filled with glee,
I saw a Baltimorean
Keep looking straight at me. Now I was eight and very small,
And he was no whit bigger,
And so I smiled, but he poked out
His tongue, and called me, 'Nigger.' I saw the whole of Baltimore
From May until December;
Of all the things that happened there
That's all that I remember. Incident The young speaker is riding on a public bus while happily taking in the sights and sounds of an unfamiliar city. At some point he is greeted by stares from another child. The speaker believes there is little difference between them because of the closeness of the two’s size and age. The black child smiles since he sees the only distinction is due to location, but is rudely awakened by the true difference. The white child’s slur makes the speaker aware of how much larger the differences really are between them. Racial harmony now seems impossible due to the white child’s contempt and the black child’s feelings of otherness. Once riding in old Baltimore,
Heart-filled, head-filled with glee,
I saw a Baltimorean
Keep looking straight at me.

Now I was eight and very small,
And he was no whit bigger,
And so I smiled, but he poked out
His tongue, and called me, 'Nigger.'

I saw the whole of Baltimore
From May until December;
Of all the things that happened there
That's all that I remember. External rhyme is used to keep the reader tuned into the story. Incident Foreshadowing is used in the title to let the reader know that something is going to occur. This grasps the readers attention to find out what actually does happen. Understatement is used by the speaker to show the impact that the young boy had on him. Imagery is used to describe the setting in which the "Incident" takes place. In addition, it gives the reader an idea of the characters attitude. Whit is a double entendre. The definition of a whit leads us to the conclusion that the boys are the same age. However, whit also refers to white which shows a major theme in the poem. Dramatic irony occurs in the poem to convey a moral theme. The poem describes a flashback is used to tell the past event that occurred. Countee Cullen's "Incident" paints a vivid picture that will linger through the readers minds for days.In the poem Cullen clearly portrays the racism shown among the blacks, even among the children. A kid’s view of the world is shot through the heart by something he can’t ignore and can’t forget. Yet the poem presents this terrible incident in perfectly calm and controlled lines of traditional formal verse. The contrast could not be greater: the poet has transformed rage into art. Themes The words you say can impact others for a lifetime.
Racism is painful and no matter at what age you may have to face it.
Blacks are humans and they too deserve to be equal.
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