Coventry.Domain Awards 2020

I am very pleased to announce that in March 2020, I was fortunate to be nominated for and to receive a Coventry.Domains Award for the development of a ‘Domain of One’s Own’ which is this website.

The award was handed to several website curators at Coventry University, each using their website for different purposes to either advertise their services, aid and support businesses or organisations within the university or simply make it a place to showcase their work throughout their university career.

A huge thanks to the University for the opportunity, support and recognition it provided in allowing me to curate this website. Please follow the below links to read the articles published around the award and this website:-

https://coventry.domains/relaunch/coventry-domains-awards-2020/

I hope you continue to enjoy the website and keep looking out for more projects as I continue to develop the site.

Portfolio Assignment

As part of my BA English course, our degree class took a week study trip to Valencia, Spain. The trip included university visits to the city’s renowned institutions, a literary tour of the Spanish writer Vicente Blasco Ibáñez and other opportunities to experience the explosion of culture throughout the city.

Our assignment required us to create our own portfolio documenting our discovery and understanding of intercultural awareness, Ibáñez’s life and literary works and the linguistic landscapes through a form of creative inquiry, assisted with an artefact.

Attached is the portfolio including the artefact and relevant referencing.

Enjoy!

Stylistic Analysis Essay

Option 2: Wolf Hall by Hillary Mantel

Stylistics is “a method of textual interpretation in which primacy of place is assigned to language” (Simpson 2004:3) and is a core component for literary analysis. This essay will stylistically analyse the opening scene of Hilary Mantel’s fictionalised biography Wolf Hall, a depiction of the life of Thomas Cromwell; through the different stylistic concepts of lexical semantics, speech and thought presentation and modality and shading.
The extract highlights the intensity of an abusive relationship between the protagonist and his father, Walter; through the narration of a violent encounter, establishing a power hierarchy between the two characters. By exploring the key themes of violence, fear and power hierarchy, the language used creates an intense tone which is carried throughout the text, particularly when the Mantel narrates the encounter between the protagonist and Walter.

Lexical semantics “refers to the study of content words” based upon their “descriptive content” in categorising the types of “entities and events they denote” (Kearns 2006). The use of lexical semantics enables a stylistic analysis of the key themes of power hierarchy, violence, religion and death explored within the extract and how they are intertwined within each other.
Power hierarchy is presented through the abusive relationship between the protagonist and Walter, evident through the connotations of the verbs used to describe Walter’s vocalisation and the protagonist’s physicality, in relation to their position of power. Mantel uses the verbs ‘roaring’, ‘yells’ and ‘bellows’ when describing Walter’s vocalisation to suggest the character as being more dominant in the encounter due to the verbs connotating traits of strength, power and control. Mantel further highlights Walter’s dominance by silencing the protagonist and limiting the character’s physical description to ‘shivering’, ‘head down’ and ‘without exposing his hands’. Mantel’s choice of descriptions has connotations of vulnerability and passiveness signifying the protagonist as being weaker than Walter. Similarly, the theme of violence is intertwined within the context of power hierarchy as Walter physically abuses the protagonist by ‘kick[ing]’ and ‘stamping’ on him as a way to obtain and maintain power. Mantel’s choice of descriptive verbs indicates Walter’s dominance as a male during the 16th century as well as his ability to maintain power and control over the protagonist.

Religion and the conflicting attitudes surrounding it, is a core theme explored throughout the extract. The concept of religion being used as a tool to maintain control is stemmed from the use of negative lexical connotation. For the extract’s antagonist, Walter, the concept of religion is used in vain through his commentary of ‘creeping Christ’, the adjective ‘creeping’ being used to present the religious figure in disdain. The narrator also describes Walter’s deliberate ignorance of his better judgement with the suggestive phrase ‘God closes them for him’, alluding to an interpretation of Walter defying God and the overall absence of an omnipotent being, in the protagonist’s time of need. ‘Wolf Hall’ is set in the early 16th century during which, Henry VIII became King of England (1509) and eventually created a Reformation Parliament’ in 1529, thus evolving the implementation of the ‘Act of Supremacy’, allowing Henry VIII to convert the Church of England from Catholicism to Protestantism. Henry VIII’s decision to follow Protestantism was catalysed by the selfish desire to divorce Catherine of Aragon (The History of Parliament Online 2019) highlighting, regardless of an individual’s political position, religion was used as a tool of control within a 16th century society.
Conflictingly, the significance of religious devotion is symbolised by Kat, a character who turns to the reference of God in her time of need. The use of the lexical phrases ‘violent prayer’ and ‘body of God’ indicates Kat’s fear for her brother and how in a moment of uncertainty and fear, she attempts to communicate to God, a reflection of the intense religious belief system within individuals during the early 16th century society.

The theme of death enforces the interpretation of Walter and the protagonist having an abusive father-son relationship. Although there are no deaths in the extract, the finalising concept of death is a foreseen possibility that both the narrator and the protagonist are aware of. The protagonist’s awareness of death being a possible outcome, is depicted through the phrases ‘I’ll miss my dog, he thinks’ and ‘he thinks it may be his last’, with the use of the words ‘miss’ and ‘last’ having connotation of finalisations and endings, Mantel is able to allude to the protagonist’s thoughts of death. Mantel also explores death through the narrator’s recital of the phrase ‘it knocks the last breath out of him’, with the choice of the phrase ‘last breath’ being a connotation of death.
Lexical semantics is an integral stylistic concept used to analyse the extract, particularly when deconstructing the different themes focuses around the text and how they intertwine within each other.

Speech and Thought presentation focuses on the “distinction between what a writer has to say, and how it is presented to the reader” (Leech and Short 2007) and is imperative when analysing narrative texts as it enables a closer interpretation of what characters think and say.
Leech and Short developed ‘The Speech and Thought Model’, designed to explore the concept’s different narrative techniques by splitting the categories of speech and thought presentation. In speech presentation, the model considers “direct speech (DS)” as the “baseline form” (Kvantaliani 2014) for which other forms are often measured against; contrastingly, in thought presentation, “indirect thought (IT)” is considered to be the “baseline” form. Direct speech “represents speech in the way it was communicated to the listener” whereas indirect speech (IS), “the narrator maintains the general idea of the utterance without copying the exact words uttered” (Kvantaliani 2014). The model also studies free variants of speech and thought as “flexible alternatives” to the previously discussed techniques (Latré 2018). Free direct discourse is similar to direct discourse as the character is able to “interrupt the narrator” except there are “neither quotation marks or reporting verbs” (Latré 2018). However, free indirect discourse allows a subtle interruption of the narrator from the character, with characteristics of the discourse usually being “third person singular rather than first person singular” whereas indirect discourse “gives the most control to the ‘quoter’ and less to the ‘quotee’” (Latré 2018).

In the extract, Mantel adapts the model’s techniques and uses a variation of direct discourse, free direct discourse and indirect discourse. Mantel has a limited use of indirect speech as the protagonist filters the narration as being the centre of consciousness and is therefore given more control than the narrator. Indirect thought is exemplary in the line ‘he thinks it may be his last’, despite the reporting verb being in the present tense rather than the past tense, the line still reports to the reader what the protagonist is thinking (Latré 2018). This is effective as it provides the reader with an insight into the protagonist’s thoughts without it overpowering the narration and ultimately highlighting the protagonist’s vulnerability through a lack of speech. 
Free direct thought is evident when the protagonist’s thoughts interrupt the narrator in the line ‘inch by inch. Inch by inch forward. Never mind if he calls you an eel or a worm or a snake. Head down, don’t provoke him’. The words are reported exactly as they would be thought by the protagonist but there are no quotation marks or reporting verbs and therefore this interruption of the narration is characteristic of free direct thought (Latré 2018). Mantel’s lack of quotation marks and reporting verbs prevents an interruption to the flow of narration and maintaining the reader’s engagement to the action between Walter and the protagonist.
Mantel explores direct speech through both the use, separation and absence of reporting verbs throughout the extract. Direct speech is “characterised by quotations and reporting verbs in the past or present tense” (Latré 2018), and is shown through the line ‘“look now, look now,” Walter bellows’ with the reporting verb ‘bellows’ being in the third person present tense. Mantel also explores direct thought by “separating the reported sentence and the reporting verb with a comma” (Latré 2018), exemplary through the line ‘I’ll miss my dog, he thinks’. The use of the comma indicates a division between the sentence and verb distinguishing the thought from the reporting verb. Finally, Mantel adopts direct speech through the absence of a reporting verb, indicated with the line ‘“Come on, boy, get up. […] By the blood of creeping Christ, stand on your feet”’. Despite the absence of a reporting verb, there is a clear indication of the addresser and addressee based on the previous turn of ‘“spew everywhere”’. Mantel’s varied use of the different forms of speech and thought, by the different characters, enables an inexplicit expression of the character’s relationship dynamic without using overly descriptive language. The author’s uneven ratio of speech : thought from Walter : the protagonist, symbolises Walter’s ability to dominate the conversation whilst highlighting the protagonist’s vulnerability. By using Leech and Short’s model, linguists are able to understand the different categories divided by speech and thought presentation and how they are used to analyse discourse in narrative texts.

Point of view explores the “relationship between mode of narration and a character’s or narrator’s ‘point of view’”; it is used to stipulate whether the events of the story are viewed from the perspective of a particular character or type of narrator, sometimes a mixture of the two (Simpson 2004:21). There are various approaches to the study of point of view categorised in the Fowler-Upensky model 4-way model. One of the key approaches of this model is the ‘psychological plane’, classified as “the authorial point of view” relying upon “an individual consciousness” (Upenksy 1973). Modality is regarded as the “grammar of explicit content” (Simpson 2004:131) as it enables “readers to identify the speaker’s opinions or attitudes” towards a “particular situation described and expressed in a sentence” (Parina and Leon 2014).
The stylistic concept of modality is used to discuss the psychological plane of point of view for an enhanced understanding of literary prose texts and is usually categorised into three basic modal shading patterns. Positive shading is categorised as a “narrative modality” focusing on the “narrator’s desires, duties, obligations and opinions” of events that are foregrounded and is most commonly found in first and third person works, exemplary through The Great Gatsby. Negative shading is where an “often ‘bewildered’ narrator (or character) relies upon external signs and appearances to sustain a description”, and its lexical structure of uncertainty is often found in most ‘existential’ or ‘Gothic’ styles of text. Neutral shading is characterised by a “complete absence of narrational modality” resulting in the narrators “withholding subjective interpretation”, creating a “sparse feel” throughout the text. The extract from Wolf Hall, is narrated in the third person present tense, with a complete absence of narrational modality, the use of the third person highlights a withdrawal of subjective evaluation of Walter’s actions and the protagonist’s reactions, evident through the lack of adjectives and a minimal use of descriptive verbs like ‘roars’, ‘yells’ and ‘bellows’. The novel’s biographic narrative form enables the narration to conform to the overall features of a neutral shading pattern and urges the reader to conclude individual interpretations, exempt from narrational influence.
Another key approach is the ‘temporal plane’, in terms of the Fowler-Upensky 4-way model, it explores “the way relationships of time are signalled in narrative”. It envelops a variety of stylistic techniques, including “repetition, analepsis and prolepsis” (Simpson 2004:81). The extract explores duration, a temporal technique that relates to the “temporal span of a story” whilst accounting for the reader’s impressions of the “way certain events may be accelerated or decelerated” (Simpson 2004:81). The extract begins with Walter abusing the protagonist but a temporal change is evident in the line “the next thing he knows, it is almost noon…”, the sentence indicates that the protagonist experienced a blackout due to the severity of Walter’s physical actions; enabling the author to create a shift in the duration of the novel as a way to direct a change in events.

In conclusion, Mantel’s Wolf Hall conforms to various stylistic analysis concepts, allowing an enhanced understanding and analysis of the text. The use of lexical semantics supported my initial impressions of the themes of violence and power hierarchy being expressed through the relationship between Walter and the protagonist. The application of speech and thought presentation, provided new linguistic insights of discourse and supported interpretations of the character’s hierarchal relationship. An exploration of neutral shading revealed new perspectives surrounding the text allowing the reader to conclude their own character interpretations without narrational influence. By stylistically analysing Wolf Hall, I have gained a deeper insight and understanding of the narrative and Mantel’ intentions.

References:

G, Leech and M, Short. (2007) Style in Fiction [online] 2nd edn. Harlow: Pearson Education Limited. available from <http://sv-etc.nl/styleinfiction.pdf> [27 March 2020]

J, Parina and K, Leon. (2014) ‘A Stylistic Analysis of the Use of Modality To Identify the Point of View in a Short Story’ The Southeast Asian Journal of English Language Studies [online] 20 (2), 92-92. available from <http://ejournals.ukm.my/3l/article/view/5129/3404> [31 March 2020]

Kearns, K. (2006) ‘Lexical Semantics’. in The Handbook of English Linguistics. ed. by Artes, B. and McMahon, A. Massachusetts: Blackwell Publishing (557-581)

Latré, G. (2018) Inside the mind of Thomas Cromwell: The Fashioning of the Self and of Tudor Politics in Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies. [online] PhD thesis. Université Catholique de Louvain. available from <https://dial.uclouvain.be/memoire/ucl/en/object/thesis%3A14274/datastream/PDF_01/view> [22 March 2020]

N, Kvantaliani. (2014) ‘Variations and effects of Speech and Thought Presentation Categories on the basis of Short Stories by Contemporary Women Writers in English’ International Journal of Humanities and Social Science [online] 4 (8), 31. available from <http://www.ijhssnet.com/journals/Vol_4_No_8_1_June_2014/4.pdf> [27 March 2020]

Simpson, P. (2014) Stylistics. Milton: Routledge

The History of Parliament Online (2019) The Reformation: Short Overview [online] available from <http://historyofparliamentonline.org/schools2/ks3/reformation/short-overview> [26 March 2020]

Upsenky, B. (1973) A Poetics of Composition (trans. V, Zavarin and S, Wittig). Berkeley: University of California Press.

Modernism Essay

An exploration of prominent literary works and their attitudes towards race during The Harlem Renaissance

The period of Modernism stretches from the early 20th century-1970s and was regarded as a “radical approach that yearned to revitalise the way modern civilisation viewed life” (Miami Dade College n.d.), through its prevalent impact upon literature and other artistic productions. The aspects of urbanisation, political change, cultural awareness and new technological and scientific progression enable an exploration of Modernism to catalyse the “undermining of tradition in hopes for a transforming contemporary society” (Miami Dade College n.d.).
These core aspects of Modernism are established during the Harlem Renaissance, an “era of artistic activism” (Sherrard-Johnson 2015:1) throughout the 1920s-30s. It centred around the celebration of Black African-American culture and the vocalisation of the injustices of racial inequality and segregation, which later provoked the Civil Rights Movement (1954-1968).This essay will explore various prominent literary texts and their reflection of different attitudes towards race during the Harlem Renaissance.

The legacies of the Atlantic Slave Trade (16th-19th century) outline how American colonies invaded the continent of Africa and enslaved Africans to “exploit them to work as indentured servants and labourers in the production of crops” (History 2020). The Harlem explosion used society’s artistic productions of literature, art and music as weapons of social change by critiquing society’s submission to racism and dehumanisation of the Black African-American culture; a result of coloniser’s cultural distortion of African natives. It also “sought to reconceptualise ‘the Negro’, apart from the white stereotypes that had influenced black people’s relationship to their heritage and to each other” (Britannica: 2020).
Claude McKay (1889-1948), an influential literary figure of the period focused his works on becoming “philosophically ambitious fiction”, that “explored the instinctive and intellectual duality of Black life in both Jamaica and America” (Poetry Foundation: 2020), central to the Black’s individual efforts to cope in a racist society. McKay’s pride of Black African heritage is heavily explored in his novel Songs of Jamaica (1912), a celebratory tribute to the black peasant life in Jamaica whilst his poetry collection of The Harlem Shadows (1922) depicts the struggles of poverty, overcome by prostitution in a black urban life. The poem’s metaphorical use of “night lets fall//Its veil” (Poetry Foundation: 2020), suggests to the reader that during the night, “the shapes of girls” (Poetry Foundation: 2020) are revealed in contrast to their lives during the day, a commonly stereotypical lifestyle of a prostitute. The ironic use of the word “veil” describes a life of indecency when the word is typically associated with chastity and marriage.
Professor Edward Said’s concept of Orientalism (1978) develops the West’s historically patronising representations of the East; he coins the terminology of the ‘other’ to describe the inferiority of Eastern natives in comparison to the Western colonisers. McKay uses the West’s preconceived assumptions of the East through the word “Negro” (Poetry Foundation: 2020) to describe Harlem. The negative stigma associated with the word provides readers of the time with an immediate disregard for the area, a racial attitude McKay attempted to rectify and portray as a point of pride, through the use of his literature. The phrase “stern harsh world” represents racial prejudice as being a factor forcing the unescapable life of “poverty, dishonour and disgrace” upon the “little dark girls” (Poetry Foundation: 2020). Despite being an advocate for the celebration of Black-African heritage, McKay portrays the streets of Harlem as being dangerous and that individuals suffering through poverty resort to immoral work ultimately reflecting the assumptive perspective of the racially prejudice white Americans of the time.
Post-colonial criticism suggests writers with similar principles to McKay’s, adopted a “rejection of the imperial world-view that always put Caribbean and African Blacks under the indefinite and presumably benign tutelage of the white races” (Phillipson 2006: 146), rectified through McKay’s Songs of Jamaica and Home to Harlem (1928). Due to the writing of McKay and authors similar, the Harlem Renaissance “developed post-colonial discourse” as it provided a “publishing platform” for writing about life in territories under imperial rule. Although The Harlem Shadows negatively portrays Harlem, McKay deliberately does this to reflect the prejudice views of white Americans of the time and to remind Black African-American readers that their daily misery is a product of racist views rather than their actual race; which should be perceived as a point of pride.

The Great Migration (1916-70) was the “relocation of more than 6 million African Americans from the rural Southern cities to the North, Midwest and West” due to the harsh economic opportunities and Jim Crow segregation laws. The migration of Black African-Americans led to the “development of a Harlem neighbourhood in New York City as a black cultural mecca” (History: 2020) resulting in a subsequent social and artistic explosion, actively enforcing the need for cultural awareness of Black African-Americans as equals within society.
Langston Hughes (1902-1967) was one of the first prominent American black writers whose literary works focused on themes of racial oppression and subtle references to his hidden homosexuality (The Poetry Archive: 2020). Hughes’ famous I, Too (1925) poem, demonstrates an intense recognition of injustice and the yearning for equality through the belief that segregation will end, a stance represented through the poetic use of the lyrical ‘I’. The poem’s use of the adjective phrase “darker brother” (Poetry Foundation: 2020) provides an initial readerly interpretation of the speaker identifying as a black African-American man who throughout the poem, uses the repeated eponymous line “I, too” (Poetry Foundation: 2020) to humanise the emotions of the oppressed black race.
During the 20th century the Jim Crow Segregation laws enforced the separation of the blacks from the whites by “law and private action in transportation, public accommodations, recreational facilities, prisons, armed forces and schools” in both the Northern and Southern states of America (Library of Congress n.d.). Hughes’ metaphorical setting of the “kitchen” and “table” represent separate seating areas based on race, symbolising America’s racial segregation. The speaker’s desire to “be at the table” (Poetry Foundation: 2020)  highlights the core purpose of the Harlem explosion as being an attempt to raise awareness of the need for a racially inclusive society. This is further presented through the poem’s parallel opening and closing line “I, too, sing/am America” (Poetry Foundation: 2020), with the lyrical ‘I’ representing the population of Black African Americans and the word “America” reinforcing the concept of an racially inclusive and equal society.

The American Civil War (1861-65) arose due to “uncompromising differences between the free and slave states over the power of the national government to prohibit slavery in territories that had not yet become states” (American Battlefield Trust: 2020). The eventual triumph of the Northern States led to the national abolishment of slavery in 1865, however, racial inequality continued to be a severe and political issue due to the enaction of the Jim Crow Segregation Laws (1877), “legalising racial segregation” (History: 2020).
The injustices of segregation in America became a prominent social issue explored in the artistic productions of the Renaissance, particularly in the poetry of Georgia Douglass Johnson (1880-1966) the “Lady Poet of the New Negro Renaissance” (ThoughtCo: 2019). Johnson’s poem Heart of a Woman (1918) enables the analysis of intersectionality, a tool used to provide people with “better access to the complexity of the world” through the overlapping of various influencing factors of society (Collins and Bilge 2016:11). Johnson’s prime use of the analogy chiefly explores female oppression which in turn, subtly comments upon racial prejudice of the early 1900s.
In the first stanza, Johnson creates the metaphorical analogy of a “lone bird” (Poetry Foundation: 2020) being able to travel “with the dawn” to describe the women’s desires of freedom from a patriarchal controlled lifestyle; represented through the poem’s mundane AABB rhyme scheme. With the poem’s progression, the state of a woman’s freedom becomes more perilous, depicted through the phrase “soft winging”, suggesting a restlessness in the bird’s movements and that although women are able to fantasise about their freedom, it is only temporary hope. Johnson’s overall purpose of the first stanza vocalises to the reader that the freedom explored by the lone bird only exists in the “woman’s heart” (Poetry Foundation: 2020) and is not a physical reality. Similarly in the context of race, the concept of existing freely without judgement is limited to a desire rather than a physical reality in a racially segregated society.
In the second stanza, Johnson maintains the analogy of the bird symbolising female oppression through the use of the verbal phrase “falls back into the night” (Poetry Foundation: 2020) to describe the bird being blocked from the world and forced to return to an “alien cage” (Poetry Foundation: 2020). The descriptive word “alien” suggests the bird’s familiarity with the feeling of freedom and being in a “cage” symbolises the shattering of fulfilling its desire. Johnson’s overall purpose of the second stanza highlights women as being unable to dream of freedom due to the reality of the “sheltering bars” of oppression. This is also applicable to the context of race of which black African-Americans struggle to dream of an inclusive society due to the “sheltering bars” of the Jim Crow Laws.
Johnson’s poem directly targets female oppression whilst simultaneously exploring the theme of racial inequality and through an awareness of intersectionality, 21st century readers are able to acknowledge and understand the injustices of the different social struggles of the 1900’s American society.

The Harlem Explosion was noted as the “first global, Black Arts Movement” (Sherrard-Johnson 2015:1) to provide Black African-American’s with an opportunity to celebrate their heritage and culture whilst simultaneously challenging racial prejudice. However, whilst majority of artists chose to use their work to vocalise an appreciation for their culture, mixed-raced American novelist and poet, Jean Toomer, famously used his literary work to express his belief of a “new race” (Leverette 2008:71). Toomer’s idea of a new race derived from his struggle “with claiming an identity that incorporated his full heritage” whilst preserving his ‘American-ness’ during a time period where “being purely ‘American’, meant being white-washed by the denial of ethnicity” (Leverette 2008:61). The poet’s ideology provoked both his critics and contemporaries to perceive his works with contradictory views of a “rejection of blackness” or “an articulation of spiritually charged nationalist sentiment” (Leverette 2008:61).
Despite Toomer’s desire for encompassing different ethnic heritages into a singular ‘new race’, his 1923 novel Cane became widely perceived as being written during “a brief period when the author considered himself a ‘Negro’ or affirming an African American vision” (Hutchinson 1993:228). The first section of the novel explores the rural Southern past and sexuality of various characters whilst the second section focuses on characters migrating from the South to the North in hopes of finding a new life by abandoning their roots. The final chapter, Kabnis, follows an African-American’s struggles of racial identity and ambivalence regarding his African heritage, a reflection of Toomer’s own beliefs.
In the chapter, Toomer frequently uses the word “sin” (Toomer 1923) to address the crimes of white Americans against black Americans, particularly the act of lynching Mame Lamkins. The religious association of the word “sin” provides a heightened immorality and Toomer uses it to humanise the reference to the racial lynches of May 1918 in Georgia, US. Similarly, Lewis’ three pair opposite phrase structure of “master; slave. Soil; and the overarching heavens. Dusk; dawn” (Toomer 1923) reflects humanity’s ability to comprehend the dramatic contrasts, alluding to the Southern state residents’ ability to comprehend and contend the brutalities of slavery and racial crimes.
Toomer uses Kabnis as a microcosmic representation of the unfulfilled desire of black African-Americans to connect to their African heritage, a core element of the Harlem Renaissance. Kabnis’ ignorant commentary of his ancestors being “Southern blue-bloods” (Toomer 1923), results in the character’s direct disregard towards the significance held by his black culture. Toomer reduces the intrinsic expression of the “dream-state” Kabnis to a work of fiction with the descriptive phrase of “artificial limbs” and the character’s movement mirroring that of a “completely artificial man” (Taylor and LeMay 2015), enabling Kabnis to become the reflective manifestation of Toomer, adopting the writer’s struggles of racial identity.
Toomer’s ‘new race’ closely links to critical theorist Homi K. Bhabha’s post-colonial theory of ‘Hybridity’, generally defined as the “mixing of the East and Western culture” (Singh 2009). The exploration of “multiple hybridities” (Singh 2009) reduces the limitations of different attributes explored in the fusion of the East and the West. Racial and cultural hybridity is typically used in the context of Asian or African societies taking influences from Western culture during their societies’ colonisation by the British Empire, contributing to new cultural norms and racial identities derived through a ‘third space enunciation’ of education, language, interracial marriage or individual’s migration into different cultural environments.
Criticism associated with Toomer’s proclamation of a new, mixed racial identity of being ‘American’, suggested the author as being a controversial figure of the Harlem Renaissance and its aim to raise awareness of racial equality between blacks and whites.

Conclusively, the fundamental aim of The Harlem Renaissance was to provide artists a channel to initiate cultural awareness and voice the injustice of racial inequality between Black African Americans and White Americans during the 20th century, successfully prominent in the literary works of I, Too and Heart of a Woman. The literary work of The Harlem Shadows evidently displays the era’s purpose of cultural awareness catalysing the celebration of Black African American culture and heritage within the black Harlem community, whilst the controversy of Cane, provides a modernist construction and representation of society’s reality. The literature of the Harlem Renaissance conveyed the different attitudes towards race and the society’s flaw of racial inequality, resulting in the movement becoming a factor in the American Civil Rights Movement and other intersectional movements for gender equality.

References:

American Battlefield Trust (2020) A brief overview of the American Civil War [online] available from <https://www.battlefields.org/learn/articles/brief-overview-american-civil-war> [24 April 2020]

Britannica (2020) Harlem Renaissance: American Literature and Art [online] available from <https://www.britannica.com/event/Harlem-Renaissance-American-literature-and-art> [23 April 2020]

History (2020) Jim Crow Laws [online] available from <https://www.history.com/topics/early-20th-century-us/jim-crow-laws> [25 April 2020]

History (2020) Slavery in America [online] available from <https://www.history.com/topics/black-history/slavery> [24 April 2020]

History (2020) The Harlem Renaissance [online] available from <https://www.history.com/topics/roaring-twenties/harlem-renaissance> [23 April 2020]

Hutchinson, G. (1993) ‘Jean Toomer and American Racial Discourse’ Texas Studies in Literature and Language [online] 35 (2) 228. available from <file:///C:/Users/Diya%20Chopra/Desktop/Jean%20Toomer%20and%20American%20Racial%20Discourse.pdf> [25 April 2020]

Leverette, T. (2008) ‘New Americans: Race, Mixture and Notion in the work of Jean Toomer and José Vasconcelos’ South Atlantic Modern Language Association [online] 73 (3) 61-61. available from <https://www.jstor.org/stable/pdf/27784796.pdf?refreqid=excelsior%3A962668bc89da1426d25473ce8fcfdd8f> [25 April 2020]

Library of Congress (n.d.) Brown v Board [online] available from <https://www.loc.gov/exhibits/brown/brown-segregation.html> [25 April 2020]

Miami Dade College (n.d.) History of Modernism [online] available from <https://www.mdc.edu/wolfson/academic/artsletters/art_philosophy/humanities/history_of_modernism.htm> [23 April 2020]

Phillipson, R (2006) ‘The Harlem Renaissance as a Postcolonial Phenomenon’ African American Review [online] 40 (1) 146-147. available from <https://www.jstor.org/stable/pdf/40027037.pdf?refreqid=excelsior%3A0d96a5058dc46db990388569ab9b1de5> [23 April 2020]

Poetry Foundation (2020) I, Too [online] available from <https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/47558/i-too> [23 April 2020]

Poetry Foundation (2020) The Harlem Shadows [online] available from <https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/44693/harlem-shadows> [23 April 2020]

Poetry Foundation (2020) The Heart of a Woman [online] available from <https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/52494/the-heart-of-a-woman> [24 April 2020]

Sherrard-Johnson, C. (2015) A Companion to the Harlem Renaissance. [online] Hoboken: Wile. available from <https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdfdirect/10.1002/9781118494110.ch0> [25 April 2020]

Singh, A. (2009) Mimicry and Hybridity in Plain English. 8 May 2006. available from <https://www.lehigh.edu/~amsp/2009/05/mimicry-and-hybridity-in-plain-english.html> [26 April 2020]

Taylor, K. and LeMay, L. (2015) Revisiting Cane. [online] Undergraduate dissertation. Oregon State University. available from <file:///C:/Users/Diya%20Chopra/Downloads/TaylorKarleighH2016.pdf> [25 April 2020]

The Poetry Archive (2020) Langston Hughes [online] available from <https://poetryarchive.org/poet/langston-hughes/> [23 April 2020]

Toomer, J. (1923) Cane. [online] New York: Boni and Liveright. available from <https://search.proquest.com/docview/2138596020/F3A087DB60814C27PQ/1?accountid=10286> [25 April 2020]