Devoir de Philosophie

comment la poésie a t-elle participée a l'émancipation de la communauté afro américaine

Publié le 06/04/2022

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« Comment la poésie a-t-elle participée à l'avancement de la cause noire Strange fruit was written in 1937 by Abel Meeropol.

This now utterly known poem has been popularized a few years after it was released thanks to Billie Holiday, famous jazz singer who performed it as a song.

This poem aims to denounce not only the lynching of black people by white extremists in the deep south, but also to denounce the racism which was endemic at that time.

Maya Angelou, who wrote still I rise in 1978, is for her part well known for her implication in the creation of a civil right movement with famous Malcolm X, however after his assassination, their collaboration had to be ended.

Besides, she continued being at the first line of the fight for black people's freedom, and mostly for the end of segregation as she engaged with Martin Luther King.

Thus, writing this poem, she wanted to denounce the beyond unfair situation her community was living in while encouraging them to stand up for themselves and defend their basic human rights. However, if both poem were written during key moments for black people’s history (the lynching in the south and the segregation) they don’t serve the exact same purpose . Strange fruit was written in order to hit the reader and to push him to question this system and rebel against it.

On the other hand, if Maya Angelou's poem does question the system, the aim is rather to empower her peers and call for unification.

This is what I will try to demonstrate thanks to the analysis of the poem. Reading strange fruit, we can see from the very beginning that the poet tries to catch the reader's attention.

Indeed, from the very beginning, the reader is plunged into a very mysterious atmosphere.

When the reader first reads line one, he can be a little puzzled by this peculiar fruit mentioned at the end of the first verse.

However we understand in the second part of the first stanza that this odd bloody fruit is truly the corpse of some black people.

This metaphor of the fruit is gradually unveiled and protracted to the end which lends the poem a strong unity.

Moreover, both the use of alliteration “Southern trees bear a strange fruit”and the circular pattern emphasizes the inevitable fate that awaited many black people back then and the hopelessness of the situationm.

It seems that there was no stopping these racist people from murdering innocents.

Finally, the description of the rotting cadavre being eaten by scavenger birds aims to shock the reader, for him to react.

If this poem seems full of hopelessness, Still I rise on the other hand is an ode to hope.

For a start, she refers to numerous natural elements so as to express her ideas, such as in line 36 where she refers to herself as “a black ocean”, alluding to her skin as well as to her strong determination that nothing could weaken.

Plus, the sentence “Still I rise” could be considered as a mantra, as it is repeated several times and emphasized by similes, line 11, when she explains that whatever the problem, she will stand up like the sun every morning or the waves which come back and forth on the sand.

This leitmotif allows and urges the reader to keep in mind that at any time, they can stand up no matter what.

Finally she advocates selfempowerment, not only for her peers at her time, but also for the new generations.

She wants the reader to believe in themselves and not to lean on somebody else to change the situation.. »


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