Double Consciousness

W.E.B. Du Bois coined Double Consciousness to show how people look at themselves but as how they look at themselves through other people’s eyes. This was a term was created when the slaves were freed and joined society. Double Consciousness has not only survived through all this years but it has also extended to other races not just the black culture. The fact is that every person in America have a double consciousness. Everyone is always busy comparing themselves to other and what others might think of them. Double consciousness and self-consciousness go together. Both affect how one see themselves and how others might see them. Like I said earlier it is has spread to every other culture. When immigrants first come over to America, through whatever means, they have a hard time adjusting because they want to look “American” and less from where they came from. Another option that happens is they do not care about looking “American” and stay true to their heritage. Now the thing that happens is that their children will have to go through this double consciousness but a form much more difficult because a new party that will judge. They will have to worry not only what others see them but also how their family will see them. There is an outer and a inner sphere that is created for these unique children. Society demands them to assimilate into society and become American while the parents demand that the children carry on their heritage. I know this from personal experience. My parents and along with other family members came from Mexico. They brought their traditions with them. When i was little i never was the difference between me and all the other kids. It was not until i was in daycare did i find out i was different. All the teachers there always ask me how to say words in Spanish. I did not understand why they wanted to know because they should know it already. I thought everyone knew Spanish. It was not until one of the teachers said i should know how to say every word in Spanish because i am Mexican. After that incident i began to notice how my parents had raised my siblings and I. They wanted to pass on their culture and tradition on to us but at the same time Society, through school and daycare, was pass its culture onto me. I could not accept either side fully. I was torn between these two identities. I am constantly reminded by my parents that i am Mexican before anything else but at the same time if i fully embrace my culture then i will be labeled as wetback or immigrant.  But at the same time my uncles, aunts, and cousins who came from Mexico constantly remind me that i am not a real Mexican.  This form of double consciousness is a lot harder to over come. These clash of identities can affect one for their entire life. Double consciousness has survived and spread to others. I don’t think this is something Du Bois expected.

Glory

Glory an exemplary film depicting the struggles of Robert Gould Shaw as he leads the first all black regiment. He is faced with prejudice from both sides of the war, the enemy and his own fellow officers. As Colonel of the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, Shaw battles his own inner turmoil as those close to him see the man they once called friend gradually begin to slip away; as he feeds into the will of those above him. Shaw is unaware of the conditions of his black soldiers and seeks advice from John Rawlins. While the relationship between Shaw and his black soldiers thickens he is forced to finds ways to manipulate those above him in order to get what he needs for his black soldiers. He realizes that these prejudice officers are corrupt in more ways than none and unwilling to sway unless threatened. Each characters impression of themselves and those around them truly make this film. Trip, the out-spoken slave runaway, his opinion of the whites and the blacks are unsettling negative, however he passionately fights for equality and his fellow soldiers. He is driven yet hides his weakness in his hard exterior and harsh words. Trying to understand how he came to be this way and watching him change was enjoyable; along with Shaw. These two character held my interest the most because they are so opposite in personality and what it is motivating them throughout the film. While Shaw is battling with how we was raised and the opinions of the higher ranking officers; Trip tries to open his fellow soldiers eyes to the truth of what it means to be a black soldier. They are both leaders in their own right and provide two very different positions in the film although it would seem that they are against each other in every way. While I have a better understanding of the hardships that these men faced, not those being portrayed by actors, but those how were actually in that battle undergoing the harsh training conditions and bias treatment; I will never truly understand how they felt during those times. I can only imagine the thoughts that ran though their minds and how hard it must have been to stay and fight. Although Trip’s fellow soldiers were not always openly honest about their emotions regarding their treatment Trip served as a voice for them all. Despite his obvious disdain for Shaw, not for being Colonel, but simply because he is a white man in power , Trip forces himself to stare down the man that approved his punishment for going AWOL because he was in search of shoes, then near the end of the film after seeing Shaw shot down on the walls of the fort. Trip is the first to take action and charge the enemy lines without hesitation. They may not have exchanged many words throughout the film, however they were a powerful moving force towards bringing everyone together in the end towards a forceful attack against the fort. Even though they failed to take over the fort; it was about their determination and reconciliation of differences that allowed them to persevere.

Did they know or not?

Slavery has always been a sensitive topic to discuss.  It is not something people want to talk  about just because it is a shameful past for Americans. Another reason why people do not want to talk about it is because we can not know if the master knew what they were doing was morally wrong. If we examine the children in any time period we see that children had always played together regardless of race. Growing up we never notice “race”, that is something that we learn as we grow up. It is taught through society or the parents. Children, during slavery, played together. If there were any female slaves that had babies and the master’s wife had one as well then that slave would become a wet nurse. She would have to stop breast feeding her child to feed the master’s child so that the child might obtain sufficient food. The children grew together having a  fun playing together. In “Incidents In The Life Of A Slave Girl”, written by Harriet Jacobs, she states that she did not she was a slave until she was six. The children grew up pretty much learning the same things at the same time but around a certain age they grow apart and learn new things. The white children are taught that they will be the new masters and should follow their parents example on how to treat their slaves. On the other hand, the slave children are taught to obey their masters and not resist because there is nothing they can do to fight back. When the white child becomes the new master he will ultimately follow in his father footsteps and treat his slaves with cruelty. The slaves can go through horrible events such as being whipped, cut, tortured, burned, raped, kill, etc. Doctor Flint, later in the story, tells Harriet that he can do whatever he pleased to her even if it meant killing her. He does not see anything wrong on how he treats his slaves. Now the real question to be asked is do the masters really not know what they are doing is wrong? They grew up with slave children, breast feed off a slave, and grew close to them. There should be some bond or connection to them. He should see them as friends or family at least. But this does not happen instead he see them nothing more than property that has no rights. He puts the slaves in a category were they are no longer humans but more in line as cattle. Now if this was not morally wrong then the slaves would have not seen it wrong either. The slaves learned the same thing as the master but they do not see themselves as cattle or non human. They see the system as wrong and that their rights have been taken away. If they both grew up the same and were taught the same in the beginning then how could they arrive to different conclusions. One sees slavery as acceptable and they other sees it as cruel. I believe that at some point the master should have know that what they were doing to their slaves was wrong. If the master did not grow up the slave then his child would and that child should see the wrongs in slavery. But there is no way for us to find out if the slave owners knew what they were doing was wrong. Or what they thought of slavery. Did they know or not?

Phillis Wheatley

Phillis Wheatley often wrote about important figures in her poems but usually covered it so it would me hard to notice like the  “An HYMN to the MORNING” and “An HYMN to the EVENING.” The poems seemed to be talking about morning and night but in reality it is talking about the king and how the king is reacting to the colonies. Both poems speak of beauty in either how the day is being or how it is ending. All the colors paint a picture in ones day but for a colonist or a slave this beautiful sky symbolizes that in the morning their can be hope for a new day, a new beginning. Wheatley even states “In all their pleasures in my bosom rise” which can be interpreted that the morning lifts her heart from the day before. The next line that is mention is “See in the east th’ illustrious king of day.” If a closer look is taken that the words we see east and king  which is a direct corresponds to the king of England since their is a king and it is in the east of the colonies. The last three lines show how he reacts. His radiance, his rule, helps the colonies just like the sun would help plants grow but if it is too strong it will kill them. Wheatley goes on to state that “his fervid beams too strong” meaning that the kings rule is tighten on the colonies. He is too demanding of the colonies which is why the “scarce begun.” The demand for raw material is too high which leaves little for the colonies too survive. She sates that the poem is an “abortive song” which means it fail it convince the king or the colonies will fail. In the “An HYMN to the EVENING” the first line says “SOON as the sun forsook the eastern main.” Soon is all capitalized which states excitement and the sun represents the king so their is joy that the king’s rule is gone at night which follows by how beautiful the sky at evening is. It becomes more clear when the line “the living temples of our God below!” The “living” shows that the king is not a god but a living human being. The words “God below” tell us that he is from earth not from heaven. Wheatley goes on to say that even thought the night is suppose to give rest in the morning everyone will raise from bed with more effort but a stronger resistants towards the king. This can be seen in the lines “At morn to wake more heav’nly, more refin’d.” and “More pure, more guarded from the snares of sin.” Sin is known for evil. They put the guarded up against evil, against the king therefore the king is evil. The last two lines state that the king is trying to lay to rest the resistence. The words “…leaden sceptre seals my drowsy eyes” and “Then cease, my song,…” shows sceptre which is held be people of high statues  and cease, to stop, her song, colonies. The king is trying to stop the colonies and show is radiance all over the colonies. These poems show the how the king ruled and treated the colonies and his “subjects.”

JUPITER HAMMON

Jupiter Hammon used poems to express not only religion but the act of slavery.  In the poem “An Evening Thought”, He talks about how salvation can be obtain through anyone. Christ did not look at his people and see black and white. He had love for all his children.  Hammon does mention in “An Adress to Miss Phillis Wheatley”  that even though Africans were taken against their will from their homeland they were able to obtain christian faith that is “Worth [more than] all the gold of Spain.” He used the poems to talk about the love of god and how salvation is for everyone.

Kate Chopin’s Désirée’s Baby

Kate Chopin was considered to be a post realist but her works have many elements  that show realism. She used more local color fiction and everything that influenced her life to tell stories. Realism was used to show ordinary people in everyday situations. In Désirée’s Baby, there are three elements that are seen such as boundary class, race, and the dialect. Désirée is accused of being “black” because the child was not fully white.  Armand, refusing to even acknowledge the possibility that it could be him, ignores both her and the baby. He see them as tainted with impure race. It is later revealed that it was him all long. He didn’t know because his mother kept it a secret from him. Even after the revelation, he feels no regret towards Désirée or the baby disappearing. This was common to happen if people were not fully “white” and would disappear or be treated as a lower class. The fact that Armand’s mother was a slave and it was kept a secret to him showed the boundary crossing between a slave and a white man, his father. It had to be kept a secret because it was a taboo for such a thing to happen. Maybe they weren’t married but they were in love with each other that’s why no one knew that Armand was mixed. The last element add to this story is the dialect. It made the characters as real as possible with the broken french dialect and the situation seemed real as well. All these elements tie in to make this situation real and that this could have happened; if it did happened then this is what it could have been like.

Being a Philosopher

Philosophers are the ideal beings that walked the path of enlightenment. Enlightenment was the age were one should have reason and question everything with their reason in order to discover the truth for themselves, not to judge others and to observe for themselves. To accomplish this one’s who knowledge and reason, instead of what has been told to you by others. Enlightenment was were one uses reason and not affected by emotions.

Philosophers are men who determined or come to an  understand of and idea without acting on feelings. They avoid things or causes that would otherwise affect them. They have to surrender themselves to knowledge. Only when reason and knowledge are the true essence of a person can he be called a philosopher. “Reason is to the philosopher what grace is to the Christian” (Du Marsais). This means that grace is what drives Christians and how strongly they feel about grace is how reason should be to philosopher.

People have no right to judge one another but yet there are people who do. People who judge really guess because they have not full reached their understand of everything and the people who do understand everything, by one owns mean, care not to judge and will remain undecided.

Through observation one can find the true of everything. this observation should not involve one removing oneself from society but integrate with it to full see and understand everything.

Work Cited

Du Marsais, César Chesneau. “Philosopher.” The Encyclopedia of Diderot & d’Alembert Collaborative Translation Project. Translated by Dena Goodman. Ann Arbor: MPublishing, University of Michigan Library, 2002. Web. [fill in today's date in the form 18 Apr. 2009 and remove square brackets]. <http://hdl.handle.net/2027/spo.did2222.0000.001>. Trans. of “Philosophe,” Encyclopédie ou Dictionnaire raisonné des sciences, des arts et des métiers, vol. 12. Paris, 1765.

Robinson Crusoe’s Luck

Robinson Crusoe has gone throughout the whole text as being a hard worker and lucky. In every situation he is saved in some form or another. All the storms he has gone through, being enslaved, living off the island for many years, the cannibals, the ships that are taken over when he leaves them, and the animals in the end. He has struggled his entire life all because he disobeyed is father and his friend’s father about not setting out to sea. Granted when he is on the island he learns many things through trial and error but consider the fact that most of his supplies or provisions came from the ship. Without those items he would not have survived on the island long. The ship was gone after the wind storm but it came back after the hurricane. He finds weapons on the ships that enable him to hunt. If he did not have the gun and gunpowder from his little ship then he would not have been able to eat as easily. Later on his luck continues to help him with the natives and leaving the island. He still has a fortune that continued to grow without him in Brazil, His ships are overtaken after he leaves them and on top of that his group are attacked with wild animals and survive. Crusoe thanks God for everything but it looks like he is extremely lucky. Maybe that first terrible accident was to bring about his lucky.