New struggle or new life?


When Professor. Eversley asked how many of you remember what a sonnet is, I was thinking about a love poem and thought what cute poem we are reading about today!
We read “America” from the Harlem Shadows by Claude McKay and boy did it get my brain thinking and reminiscing. To start off this poem is put very detailed, in a way that allows you to truly understand the toxic relationship between America and Claude McKay, through Mr. McKay’s eyes. Reading certain lines had me thinking back to the struggles my grandparents had to have them be where they are today. As my grandpa says, “this happy life came with quite the expenses and struggles”, and it’s true maybe I will understand better when I’m relaxing all year round like them. (They are in their 70s now)
McKay starts off with telling us how bad the country is, but also says, line 3, “Stealing my breath of life, I will confess”, and then goes on to criticize America. When saying America is stealing his breath it initially looks like as if he’s hurt and is too overwhelmed to speak? Also, it seems like a true love/hate relationship, from line 14, “Like priceless treasures sinking in the sand”. What kind of love is that?
A toxic kind of love. Claude McKay describes his experience in America as “hell” and states America is forcing “bitterness” on him. It seems like that effect is universal for us hard working folks, and Mr. McKay is reasonable for feeling this way!
I enjoyed learning about this poem and even being able to dive deeper into it!

One thought on “New struggle or new life?

  1. Hello, I just wanted to say that you’re absolutely right that this poem was such a beautiful poem that taught us a lot about toxic relationships. Love the way you also describe certain lines from the poem for example in line 3 said: “Stealing my breath of life, I will confess.” you explained how America took away his breath and it was hard for him to speak about the situation or too overwhelmed to even talk about it. Especially when you explain that this relationship is not a healthy one because what kind of person would write a poem that explains love but also hate to someone, it obviously shows that this relationship is an love and hate relationship which you pointed so that’s really great that you knew about it.

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