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Harlem Renaissance Poetry Prezi

"My City" - James Weldon Johnson "If We Must die" - Claude McKay
by

Alexander Shell

on 23 May 2011

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Transcript of Harlem Renaissance Poetry Prezi

Harlem Renaissance Poetry:
"My City" and "If We Must Die" By: Exsenet Esler, Kasie Ridge, Alex Shell Vocabulary Review FIGURATIVE LANGUAGE

Hyperbole- Exaggeration of truth for emphasis or humor

Imagery- Descriptive language appealing to one of the five senses

Personification- Giving human traits to nonhuman beings or objects

Metaphor- Comparison of two unlike things without using like or as

Simile- Comparison of two unlike things using like or as SOUND DEVICES

Alliteration- Use of words in close proximity that contain the same consonant in the beginning of the words

Consonance- Use of words in close proximity that contain the same consonant in the middle or end of the words

Assonance- Use of words in close proximity that contain similar vowel sounds

Rhythm- Creating a pattern using the naturally stressed and unstressed syllables in the english language "MY CITY" By: James Weldon Johnson James Weldon Johnson 1871-1938 Professions: Lawyer, teacher, songwriter, civil rights activist, diplomat

Goals: fighting prejudice and inspiring African Americans

Notes: 1894- Graduated Atlanta University

1901- Traveled to NYC, he and his brother became successful Broadway songwriters; one of their songs, "Lift Every Voice and Sing" later became the African American national anthem.

Unknown years- Became first black lawyer since the Reconstruction to be admitted to the Florida bar. He also published works in many literature genres. When I come down to sleep death's endless night,
The threshold of the unknown dark to cross,
What to me then will be the keenest loss,
When this bright world blurs on my fading sight?
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?
No, I am sure it will be none of these. But, ah! 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---
O God! the stark, unutterable pity,
To be dead, and never again behold my city! When I come down to sleep death's endless night,

The threshold of the unknown dark to cross,

What to me then will be the keenest loss,

When this bright world blurs on my fading sight?

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?

No, I am sure it will be none of these.



But, ah! 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---

O God! the stark, unutterable pity,

To be dead, and never again behold my city! A

B

B

A

A

B

B

A



C

D

C

D

E

E Stanza Break One octave of Italian sonnet One quatrain and a couplet of Shakespearean sonnet "If We Must Die" By: Claude McKay Festus Claudius McKay c. 1890-1948 Profession: Poet

Goal: Social change (He was a critic of racism)

Notes: 1912- Left Jamaican birth place to come to the US

1919- Racial tensions result in 26 violent riots, the period dubbed the "Red Summer." McKay wrote "If We Must Die" in response to these events.

WWII era- The British Prime Minister, Sir Winston Churchill, quotes from "If We Must Die" during a speech. The result was the poem becoming a battle cry for the Allies against the Nazis. If we must die, let it not be like hogs
Hunted and penned in an inglorious spot,
While round us bark the mad and hungry dogs,
Making their mock at our accursed lot.
If we must die, O let us nobly die,
So that our precious blood may not be shed
In vain; then even the monsters we defy
Shall be constrained to honor us though dead!
O kinsmen! we must meet the common foe!
Though far outnumbered let us show us brave,
And for their thousand blows deal one deathblow!
What though before us lies the open grave?
Like men we'll face the murderous, cowardly pack,
Pressed to the wall, dying, but fighting back! If we must die, let it not be like hogs
Hunted and penned in an inglorious spot,
While round us bark the mad and hungry dogs,
Making their mock at our accursed lot.

If we must die, O let us nobly die,
So that our precious blood may not be shed
In vain; then even the monsters we defy
Shall be constrained to honor us though dead!

O kinsmen! we must meet the common foe!
Though far outnumbered let us show us brave,
And for their thousand blows deal one deathblow!
What though before us lies the open grave?

Like men we'll face the murderous, cowardly pack,
Pressed to the wall, dying, but fighting back! A
B
A
B

C
D
C
D

E
F
E
F

G
G Quatrain I Quatrain III Quatrain II Couplet
Full transcript