Personal Preconceptions To Race Essay, Research Paper
There are two separate types of preconceptions which can bring into a class of this nature. The first deals with the literature itself. In my case, preconceptions pertaining to African American literature are non-existent. The absence of knowledge pertaining to a specific subject prevents one from constructing any meaningful preconceptions. The second type of preconception deals with the African American culture. I, like any other human being, have formed certain prejudices and stereotypes towards many things, one of which is the black population of America. Having said this, I believe I must first objectively view literary material before forming a personal opinion on the subject. This provides me with a better overall understanding of the meanings which the author was attempting to convey.
Upon entering this class, my only expectations were that the material contained in the course had been chosen for, not only their literary merit, but also for their impact upon society. After reading the past few weeks assignments, these expectations have been maintained, if not surpassed. I greatly enjoyed all of the material which I read, from the folk tales to the slave narratives. Never before have I encountered literature written with such fervor, ideal, and spirit. It was not necessarily the words that the author wrote that spoke to me. Instead, it was that which they did not say that truly painted the portrait of their meaning.
The obvious themes of freedom and longing surface repeatedly throughout the stories thus far. In addition, there are many underlying themes which the reader is challenged to identify and understand. Each author conveys their stories in different manners, tones, and rhythm. Some of the authors utilize humor to tell a story while others rely upon the reader?s sympathy and understanding to make a point.
I hope that the importance of this material to today?s audiences is not overlooked. In all societies, at all times, there is always a struggle with freedom, whether it be physical, emotional, or spiritual. Freedom is a universal theme truly understood by few and taken for granted by many. This, however, is not the only theme discussed in this literature. There is intense pride contained in these stories. Pride in one?s self and pride in one?s culture scream at the readers through the authors? words. This fierce sense of pride leads to a joyful tone in many of these early pieces.
The folktales, though meant to be spoken rather than written, still convey this tone of joy very eloquently and rhythmically. The apparent casualness of these types of stories beautifully mask the serious meaning of the works. On the other end of the spectrum, the narratives present the same ideas in a more solemn tone. Readers are present with facts and are allowed to judge for themselves the significance of the situations at hand. These stories leave less up to imagination than the folktales. I believe that the reader has less to interpret but more to understand. One is left asking why.
Thus far, I have greatly enjoyed the stories and the class. As I have said, this literature is much more meaningful and purposeful in nature that much of the other literature which I have studied. In this short time, I have already begun to identify with the authors and their inspiring words. Theirs is a universal story which we would all do well to listen to.