1 question, short essay, 10 points total.
Respond to the following prompt in the form of a short essay of 650–700 words. Do not exceed 700 words. (Do a word count. Hint: 700 words is approximately two pages double-spaced with one-inch margins all around and 12-point Times New Roman font.)
In his essay “The Black Arts Movement,” Larry Neal maintains that “the motive behind the black aesthetic is the destruction of the white thing, the destruction of white ideas, and white ways of looking at the world” (Call and Response 1451). Moreover, Neal argues that Baraka’s “poem [“Black Art”] comes to stand for the collective consciousness and unconscious of black America—the real impulse in back of the black power movement” (1452).
Amiri Baraka’s “Black Art” is both troubling and difficult to read because of the offensive, sexist, violent, and racist images it depicts, as well as its profane language. Given its complex nature, explain the value of the poem to the defining and asserting of a 1970s black aesthetic and black power movement. Specifically, address the following:
Locate and summarize at least one image or idea in the poem that advocates the destruction of white domination.
Locate and summarize at least one image or idea in the poem that provides evidence of the poet’s attempt to promote a collective black consciousness.
Provide a clear explanation of “a” and “b” above, paying attention to the language (what words are used and the experiences the words intend to convey) and the tone (mood, feelings, attitude) the poet uses in this poem.
Include at least one positive and one negative view of the poem based on your reading of it.