Let us talk about American Literature today. It is one of my favourite subjects. American literature has a several aspects. It forms complicated yet valid viewpoints. Various races are described but you cannot study just one of them. There are whites, Irish, British, and Jews. All of them are born and bought up in different mannerisms. They are rarely connected. Among them, the African-Americans stand a little apart. Those black Americans are not the only slaves. They all migrated from Jamaica, Caribbean, be it northern Africa or America. They all came from same compound. It was named as the ‘DARK CONTINENT’. Some migrants were Senegalese and Ethiopians. Talking about race is not that simple, if you know what I mean. There is always a big question mark of skin color. You cannot hide or you cannot change it. Violence is everywhere. It is predatory. It comes in the form of racism, sexual abuse across and among the race with gender inequality. A multiple combination of horror is what I can call it. This is why the reading of American literature became so fascinating and mysterious to read.
The re-construction of the south left the black Americans leave the southern plantations. It was a painful moment as states as Georgia, North and South Carolina, Alabama etc faced the worst. The largest affected areas were in Kentucky and Virginia. These places suffered a bad history of slavery. Inhuman treatments and trafficking were the prime forces made on human beings. In the 1920’s 10 million African-Americans were living in the city. About 2 million lived in the Harlem city of New York. In those times, the South side of Chicago was extremely poor and unhealthy with slums. Horrible areas were the witnesses of men’s poverty and his miserable situation. These things are vividly depicted in the books like “A RAISIN IN THE SUN”. A man like Walter-lee is desperate to earn money in the easy way and so he tries to imagine his lifestyle by throwing on an imaginary domination quilt over his family. He mocks and insults his wife in the first act by saying that things are not done without paying a little amount of bucks to the person. He means the bribery thing. He thinks everything works on bribe in spite that his wife refuses to believe and so does his family. The system itself is dark. He throws all his frustration at his wife Ruth younger by saying that she does not support him for asking his mother about the liquor investment by the money his mother had inherited.
The situation portrayed is very insidious as he is clearly trying to upfront her. He literally starts coaching her with graphical demonstrations making her understand that things do not work out unless you pay some bribe. The towering figure in the play is Lena Younger his mother who makes all the decisions but in the end hands the house to Walter only to witness the destruction. You can also figure out the gender inequality as her husband through his frustration easily blames Ruth. It was quite easy for him as he thought women have no hand in helping a man to succeed. It was all like an explosion in the beginning as he was scapegoating his wife to make things easier for him.
At this point, what we see is, coloured women had no significance in their own house. Ruth is the perfect portrayal. Coloured women were not seen as the up lifters of dreams however hard they tried. Ruth was completely right about the money but she was crushed under Walter’s masculine pressure. She was tired, helpless and did not know what to do. She was running out of diplomacy for her husband but she had a reason for that.
We still have Beneatha Younger the carefree young person who has revolutionary ideas unlike her family. Travis, their 11-year-old boy who was curious about everything and Lena younger the affectionate dominating mother who witnesses the fall-apart of her family, yet saves them in the end. We will see them in the next part. Until then, browse through more American literary history and you will explore the shadows of dark past.