An Analysis of a Poem Extracted from FIRE

It is told from the beginning of this magazine that FIRE is the Negro Quarterly that was born during a young Negros’ rap hangout. Led by Langston, FIRE is devoted to young Negro artists. Therefore, the poem extracted from FIRE, From the Dark Tower by Countee Cullen, becomes the voice made by Negro artist with the purpose to speak up for Negro people.

It is made obvious due to the background information given about the magazine that this is a poem talking about race. However, the poem wisely uses metaphors and details of African Americans’ characteristics to deliver the message that it is about race talk. For example, the phrases about color are directly mentioned in the poem: white stars, being dark, and dark tower. Furthermore, Cullen features African Americans’, more precisely for its written back during a time in which white people and African Americans had conflict, Cullen features slaves’ life by saying: “Shall we beguile their limbs with mellow flute.” It is a tradition that after a harvest, the slaves of African descent would get together and play their music where the flute that makes mellow sound is a common instrument to use.

This poem also sheds light on the suppression and negative effect on African American during the conflicts with white people. Starting from the first line, “we shall not always plant while others reap”, Cullen uses this symbolism tells the unfair treatment received by slaves which are that they are the providers of labor while white people are just rip off the result fruits of their labor.

Hope, is another voice I hear by reading this poem. “We are not made eternally to weep.” Eternally means permanently, lasting forever. Through this lie, Cullen is saying that African Americans are suffering, but it is not what they are born to be doing. Cullen denies the inferiority placed on Africans and African descents by white people, from which I drew a sense of hope—at least someone sees through the justice and knows what they are meant to be even if they don’t seem to be so now. “And wait, and tend our agonizing seeds.” It sounds like a slogan talking to white people, Cullen is asking those who exploit Africans to wait and see the better result coming after their hope—their next generation.

Children Pure Innocence Mind “Little Annie’s Ramble”

There are few literature works that use children as the main character in the story to give harmless, innocence or naïve character in the story. Some writers put children as main characters in their works to evoke the idea of kindness, compassion or warmth sensation in an essay. Nathaniel Hawthorne in “Little Annie’s Ramble” involves a child’s character as center story that pictured the innocence and harmless side of a young soul. The story is about a little girl named Annie that interact with an adult gentleman, together they stroll through the street circus in their town. Annie is a little girl that curious out of the crier’s announcement from the distance and try to find out what it is all about. At the same time a man looked at her from across the street and looked at Annie’s enthusiastically to find out what the crier had been speaking of.

The story taken from the adult perspective reminiscing how fin it is as a child and having a child’s mind. The man reminded him of his childhood when he looked back into the time when he was young and connect it with Annie’s curiosity. “She feels that impulse to go strolling away –that longing after the mystery of the great world– which many children feel, and which I felt in my childhood” (Hawthorne). This childhood moments resonance throughout the essay, it almost feels like Hawthorne try to bring readers to their own childhood memories. The reminiscence of the gentlemen brought  a up few times in the essay, for example on this passage:

“Here is a shop to which the recollections of my boyhood, as well as present partialities, give a peculiar magic. How delightful to let the fancy revel on the dainties of a confectioner; those pies, with such white and flaky paste, their contents being a mystery, whether rich mince, with whose plums intermixed, or piquant apple, delicately rose-flavored; those cakes, heart-shaped or round, piled in a lofty pyramid; those sweet little circlets, sweetly named kisses; those dark, majestic masses, fit to be bridal-loaves at the wedding of an heiress, mountains in size, their summits deeply snowcovered with sugar!” (Hawthorne).

In this passage, Hawthorne portrays in detail the dream or imagination of a little kid. He pictures how children love sweets and anything that has a connection with sugar. He also put the man in recollection moment when he was a little kid, the naïve feeling as a child towards the sweets. “Little Annie’s Ramble” show the pure innocence character of a child in an adult perspective, where the adult kind of envy how naïve, pristine and unadulterated minds.

importance of quality book-making

Charles Richardson discusses the state of book-making in the United States in the article “Book-making in America.” He starts of by saying that more people started to read more and that newspaper audiences increase so do the number of people who read books. Even though there was increase in readership, he says that the quality of new books decreased. He compared the paper, construction, and printing of book in America, Germany, and France.

This article was important to our class since a broad focus in our class was to learn about and appreciate the art of making a book. Making a book is much more than writing a compelling and original story. Many people think that the main labor of a book belongs to the author. However printing pages and binding a book takes a manuscript from being a concept to a marketable book. People may not usually consider all the work that went into the creation of a book. The type of paper, print, clothe that creates the front and back cover of books all play a role in the feel of a book.

Richardson noticed that the books being printed after the Civil War, were not as ornate or beautiful as previous books. A comparison can be made to today. Many books are offered in soft covered and hard covered editions at bookstores and on the internet. Today’s books are also available in a digital format. As Richardson stated, books became more popular but the process was made more efficient. As with most things quick efficient processes create a large number of products but each individual product is of a lesser quality. Mass produced books served to be read by many. Books that were handcrafted were considered pieces of art and collected as heirlooms. Books printed in small numbers were more expensive and highly decorated.

For the comrades and lovers eyes only


While some take a sadden viewpoint on Walt Whitman’s No Labor-Saving Machine, I see it as a positive reminder. Mr. Whitman (1819 – 1892) is primarily known for a collection of poems called Leaves of Grass.  I believe there are three things at work here; first, a speaker coming forward realizes his shortcomings and openly admits to them; second, the speaker openly admits what he is able to do and what is able to leave behind. And finally, labor versus the introduction of production (machines). Judicious about his legacy, Walt Whitman’s last contribution to the world would be “Leaves of Grass”, to which he had collected a lifetime of reflections about society and himself. Whitman would only to be rediscovered and restored to the American public by a group of editors set out to gather his “vibrating carols”, after his death. These “vibrating cords” included six very different editions of Leaves of Grass, and thousands of manuscripts, letters and journalistic pieces.

To me, this screams the saying “life is too short” Life is too much to worry about the wealth you will leave behind or the patriotic actions for your country; even the book and stories to which you will write. What matters, as identify by the author, are ones nearest and closest to him/her, friends and lovers. This was Walt Whitman’s and Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s literary success. The art of simply caring for the little things. Whitman’s repetition of the word “Nor” in a list fashion almost seem to clarity the truly unimportance of what follows. “Nor literary success, nor intellect”; taken from his own life, Whiteman’s education ended with elementary school and at times he was chronically poor, but in the end he managed to  work hard and soon he enjoyed the fruits of his labor, only to be rediscovered years after his own death.

The title “No labor-Saving Machine” also tells another story. Walt Whitman live in the time of exponential growth the United States. It was the time of Carnegie, Ford, Morgan, and Rockefeller; where man was being replaced by faster machines and newly innovative methods. Similarly to no labor, save the machines seems to relieve the sadden implications outlined by a few. The death of labor? The death of the American worker per se? I am skeptical.  Labor-saving machines, does reduces demand for some workers but increases demand for others, more specialize. However, for the author this may be different or difficult to understand.

All in all, Walt Whitman acknowledges that there is nothing to gain from major success nor of a person to showcase their talents or materialistic items; but at the core, to do only what you think you can do even, in death, to leave behind few carols (stories), vibrating (traveling through generations) through the air (history).



A World Too much in itself

The sonnet, The World Is Too Much with Us by William Wordsworth (a 19th century English  poet), portraits an idea that people have become so involved in earning  money that they have not only lost touch with all things beautiful in the world but also within themselves. Born, raised and educated in the time of the Industrial Revolution, where the transition from old to new manufacturing processes occurs; William Wordsworth witnessed much of the changes in his beloved Great Britain. He conveys his frustration about the state, which he sees daily throughout the poem.

Stating his dissatisfaction, Wordsworth writes “Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers” to clearly portray that people have given up their “powers”, whether that meant their livelihoods, passions, or even freedoms, (since the industrial revolution introduce the time clock), for this form of efficiency. Would that be true today? William also goes on to say “we have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!” The word “boon” means to be helpful; however, he uses the word after writing “sordid” which means dishonorable, or ignoble motives. Elevating his tone from dissatisfaction to anger, William here, showcases the significance of the problem; all while depicting cynicism and the decadence of society.

In this poem, it seems that human society beginning in the speaker’s time as made a bargain with the devil. Literally or figuratively, society have lost our powers in the bargain, our lives revolve around a clock of work, earn and spend to then work again. A dark and empty pit, we, society are blind and find ourselves alone. But is it preventable? William writes near the end of his poem “Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn; Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea”; having the sight of Proteus, is define as one to have the ability to foresee the future or what the speaker notes as potential “glimpses”. The hopes that this ability can help him become less forlorn or sad about the world we see around us.

William Wordsworth criticizes materialism and distancing of humans from the nature of our world and most importantly ourselves. As I read this piece: I wonder. Are there forms like this that exist today? Would we as a collective agree with Sir William Wordsworth? Are there those out there, with the ability of Proteus to notice these changes? Have we, as a society, fell victim to our own problems too greatly to witness the changes to our world?


A Grieve Mother, A Lonely Soilder

She is a mother, and her heart

   Is breaking in despair.

It has kept me hunted from the very beginning. If the shrieks piercing through the air are quite understandable because a mother undertakes a great deal of effort and pains to give birth to her baby, I lost my track when the mother “is a mother paled with fear”. Isn’t giving a birth to a human being and watching him growing up day by day one of the greatest happiness that mothers can ever ask? Yes, and no. She is a mother. She is a slave.

The poem deeply depicts the storm of agony that a slave mother is suffering when giving a birth. It is not that pain deriving from parturition, it is because she clearly understands that she does not have the ability to protect her baby. She knows that her baby, made of her flesh and bones, will be torn apart from her by these cruel people, and his life will be doomed to be a repentance of her tortuous path. Therefore, her bitter shrieks “rose” into the wild sky, it is a high-pitched piercing sound, but an expression of terror and pain. It is deadly-depressing because no one would thrust a hand to help, it is just lonely and helplessly echoing in the wild sky.

There are pairs of “sad and imploring eyes.” Every glance the mother gives to the baby is full of pain because she knows “he is not hers.” They are the mother’s imploring eyes, she begs a little bit more time to star at her baby. They wouldn’t let her. Every glance is saying hi, and goodbye. They are also the baby’s imploring eyes, he seeks his mother’s breasts and fond arms to hide, seeking mother’s caress and guidance to teach him how to survive in this world. But they wouldn’t let him.

So she “sadly clasped” her baby as a last try to protect him. He is the best gift to her sad life. ” A fountain gushing ever new, amid life’s desert wild.” The use of a metaphor yields a smart contrast which emphasizes the bond between the mother and her baby. The arrival of this newborn meant to the mother is what a fountain meant to the dead desert.

She fought, as a lonely solider. But she knew clearly what it meant to be as a slave mother. All she has left to the world is a baby that is not hers, and these bitter shrieks as the only means to tell the world her angers and agonies.

Book Mock Up_The Scarlet Letter

We decided on a 6×6 for practical reasons when using material. We will make the book with red cloth as shown in the picture (the book in the picture is just a prototype). The binding of the book will have somewhat of a sewed effect. Also, my group and I are creating the book reflecting the journey Hester Prynne went through. So, in such a case, we thought of the opening, in the front of the book, to be considered like a prison door. Inside the flap would have the letter “A” in wax for the “haptic experience” and also to symbolize who is in the prison. We also decided, since Hester Prynne was pregnant with Pearl in prison, to put white lace with pearls bordering the letter “A”.  In the beginning of Chapter one, the narrator describes of a rose bush next to every prison door, symbolizing something more hopeful compared to the actual prison door. So, in front of the flap, on the side, we have decided to put a small stamp of the rose bush.

Also, on each page, on the top-right hand corner, we will have the letter “A” in wax.



  1. Forward: In the forward of our book, we will attempt to answer what makes a book considered a “great work” as well as why we choose to replicate the life of Hester Prynne? Why is it important in making our book valuable and worthy of being kept and maintained?
  2. Introduction: In the Introduction of our book, we will state how has Hester Prynne come about with such a life’s journey, through the history of the authors narration.
  3. The life of a Non-Sinner: Through the eyes of all around Hester, before the conviction of adultery, my group and I thought it was necessary to mention how the life of those who did not sin live and the expectations created within society. More specifically, who those people are?
  4. Hester Prynne_The Beginning of “A”: Here, we discuss the beginning of the sin Hester Prynne has committed, as well as those involved.
  5. Product of Sin (Pearl): Who is Pearl? What she represents in Hester’s life?
  6. Branding_The Shameful Experience: Here, we discuss the measures society takes to humiliate the one who has committed a crime, and also how ruthless they could be through Hester’s eyes.
  7. A Silent Death: How Hester have spent her years after? Who knew the truth, if anyone about who the father was?
  8. Creative Response to Hester Prynne’s Life: We decided to express a feeling of her journey through poem. Hopefully, the poem can create such a language that the readers begin to sympathize with Hester.. possibly empathize with her (The poem is in the process of being completed).

Some parts of our book we took from your suggestions: 

  • The forward as mentioned above
  • A protective sleeve to enhance value and preservation of our book
  • Cloth material to cover the book
  • Hints or teasers of Hester Prynne. For example, a flower in between the pages.


Mock- Up for Beloved

The Full Set:

Book 1: About Beloved

  • Front cover  with title and hand drawn photo of Beloved’s tombstone
  • Table of Contents (blue/gray page to keep neutral)
  • History of the book (old looking/textured paper)
  • About the author (orange for Toni Morrison’s favorite color)
  • Why it’s great (light green to keep it positive)
  • Book’s reception/preservation over time (same pages as history of)
  • Bibliography (same blue/gray as table of contents)

Book 2: The Girls

  • Front cover with title and soon to be hand drawn photo of the girls  
  • Table of Contents (blue/gray page to keep neutral)
  • About Baby Suggs (orange pages, because it’s her favorite color)
  • About Sethe (red to represent strength)
  • About Beloved (green to represent guilt)
  • About Denver (blue to represent intelligence)
  • Bibliography (same blue/gray as table of contents)

Book 3: From Kentucky

  • Front cover with title and hand drawn photo of ink and pen, representing the ink well used by school teacher
  • Table of contents (blue/gray page to keep neutral)
  • Introduction of Sweet Home (brown for darkness)
  • Sethe’s life at Sweet Home (green for envy)
  • Her and the other slaves on Sweet Home (light green for lightness)
  • Her wedding with Halle (red for love)
  • The Garners wedding gift  (green for real)
  • School Teacher’s take over (red for danger)
  • Sethe’s experience in the barn (blue for sadness)
  • Sethe’s beating before escaping / how she got her “tree” (red for danger)
  • Sethe’s escape (yellow of liberation)
  • Bibliography (same blue/gray as table of contents)

Book 4: To Ohio

  • Front cover with title and soon to be hand drawn photo of Amy Denver
  • Table of contents (blue/gray page to keep neutral)
  • About Amy Denver (orange for her hair)
  • Sethe finally getting to Ohio / 124 (light green to keep it light / happy)
  • The moment school teacher comes to 124 and Sethe has to make a difficult decision (red for danger / blood)
  • Baby Suggs passing (orange for Baby Sugg’s favorite color)
  • The multiple hauntings in the house (red for danger)
  • Paul D comes to 124 (brown to represent healing and reliability)
  • About Paul D (brown to represent healing and reliability)
  • Paul D’s leaving and Sethe realizing whon Beloved is  (red to represent danger)
  • Bibliography (same blue/gray as table of contents)

Book 5: Our Take

  • Front cover with title and hand drawn photo of a person reading a book
  • Table of contents (blue/gray page to keep neutral)
  • Abby’s close reading analysis (blue for her favorite color)
  • Danay’s close reading analysis (yellow for her favorite color)
  • Mamady’s close reading analysis (green)
  • Jelandi’s close reading analysis (red for her favorite color)
  • Abby’s definition of a great work (blue)
  • Danay’s definition of a great work (yellow)
  • Mamady’s definition of a great work (green)
  • Jelandi’s definition of a great work (red)
  • Abby’s definition of a great work connected to Beloved
  • Danay’s definition of a great work connected to Beloved
  • Mamady’s definition of a great work connected to Beloved
  • Jelandi’s definition of a great work connected to Beloved
  • Bibliography (same blue/gray as table of contents)

Below are examples of the pages and colors:
Table of contents page:








Book 1, history pages:

Each page (with the exception of the table of contents and bibliography) will have a double set of pages like this:

On the left side we will have either a quote to describe the moment, a title page, or photo.

On the right side, we will have the information we’re trying to create. This can be created with images, stickers, text, etc.

We will be adding personalized items to each page to make it feel more like a scrapbook. Some examples of this will be:

“About Baby Suggs” will have items such as crosses and photos of church to help portray her identity of a preacher.

“About Paul D” will have roosters, since he is haunted by the memory of Mister the rooster

“The Girls” book all together will have red roses to represent family


On going: The four of us are going to be collection quotes that can be added to add imagery, for example “124 was spiteful. Full of a baby’s venom.” (Morrison 1) can be used to describe 124. Each member is working on their opinion of what is a great work and how they are going to compare it to Beloved.

Already done: 3 out of 5 hand drawn cover photos. Each color / page is in the books. Table of contents is decided for each book.

5/10: Have the “our take” done by having all members submit their close readings and opinions.

5/13: Have all the text and photographs that will be used in the scrapbook. Glue the texts and photographs in the correct places and add on any extra decorations to make the books look and feel more like scrapbooks.  

5/15: Have all the hand drawn cover pictures done and placed in the correct place. Add finishing touches to the scrapbook, such as add on stickers or text, reglue falling items, and make sure they are ready to turn in.

5/17: Have all 5 books in the set complete. Also, if needed we will make another set.


Notes from Underground Check-In Part 3: Book Mock Up

We are very pleased to introduce you to our BAB group project, Notes from US, based on the Great Work we are reading throughout this semester, Notes from Underground.



Book Modeling Runway Show



Inner Cover Pages:


Our body of work:


Detailed Outline

Content Materials
  • Introduction to our book, where you will gather all the information you need as a reader first get around to this decently sophisticated book. It will include intro part about the original book, Notes from Underground, the analysis that dissects Dostoyevsky’s ideology and his attitude towards prevailing philosophical theories in the eighteenth century, the themes lying in our book, and how we are going to expand out.
  • A few, extremely brief poems inspired by the Underground Man
  • Formulas, Drawings of the Underground Man and other scenes contained in the original book
  • Essay-like analyses, which include the nuances of the character’s thoughts that happened in a repetitive pattern, our interpretive conversations within ourselves answering questions like why is this NFU great, what makes NFU a great work. These analyses arrive as a result of the thinking process associated in the above sections.
Formal Details
  • We will hand write every single letter for the first sample of our book, then scan copy and print out pages for the rest of the 9 copies. The handwriting will mimic the style back in the eighteenth century.
  • We will glue the parchment-pattern paper and the oak tag paper together once we finish handwriting on the parchment-pattern paper as a way to make the parchment-pattern paper durable and amplify the old paper texture, which eventually helps elevate readers’ haptic experience during their interaction with our books.
  • We will bind the book by using the linen threads which will make our books come off as fuzzy, messy, and disorganized as if it visualizes the Underground Man’s personalities. The binding method will also create a sense of vintage through which our readers will be transferred back to the European society back in the eighteenth century.
  • Some hand drawings will also be added to our books as part of the content.
  • We will play with the order to make each book has a completely different layout but the same content. We treat each book as an individual and show our respect to each of them. The purpose of doing so is to make it lively and fun! More importantly, we want to show readers the order of content matters because those pick different books will harvest different reading experience. By doing so, we will also create a distinguishing persona for each book thus providing high-quality and phenomenal experience for readers.


Important Dates

5/9  Cover Decorations Done for 10 Copies

Finish glueing and making title decorations for each copy. Cut oak tag paper and ancient-looking paper to prepare for the next step.

5/10 Content and Drawing Draft

Mark will give us the black and white drawings he has worked on. Media will give us black paint he obtained from his super and also the draft introduction.

5/10 Meeting with Prof. Curseen for Feedback

If we can find a good time to meet that works for all of us, we can meet the professor for feedback on Wednesday.

5/12 Content and Drawing Finalization

Handwrite the words onto each ancient paper and photocopy these handwritten pages to be used for the other 9 copies.

5/12 Bookbinding

Finish binding all the layers of the book together.

5/17  Show Time!


ABC: Book Mock Up

Below is the mock up and specific steps our group will take in order to create our book.

Step 1 – We have omitted the contents for now since our work involves using graphics through Adobe and other editing tools. However, a sample of the content is attached at the end.

Step 2

Step 2 (continued)

Step 3

Step 3 continued

Below is a sample page of what will be inside. I(Hnin) will create similar contents for the cover, content page, and so on. Samantha and Sarana will work on the graphics to add/retell the story for the creative assignment.  Caleb will help with printing the completed work. As a group, we will finalize the writings that covers the questions that Professor Curseen listed.

Sample content

To Do By the Dates Listed:

5/10: (1) Discuss with the group and show how to DIY stitch the books.  (2)  Talk to Professor Curseen about her opinion on our mock up.

5/12: Have final drafts of all written content complete (each written task is allocated among the group). Samantha and Sarana will produce graphics for the story. Hnin and Caleb will assist them.

5/15: Group will meet to make FINAL copies of the first two books for the book fair.

By the project deadline, each group member will make 2 books to complete the remaining 8 books.