Souls Of Black Folk Essay, Research Paper

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The Different Conceptions of the

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Veil in The Souls of Black Folk quot ; For now we see through a glass,

in darkness & A ; quot

*P*-Isiah 25:7*/P*

W.E.B. Du Bois & # 8217 ; s *I*Souls of Black Folk*/I* , a

aggregation of autobiographical and historical essays contains

many subjects. There is the subject of psyches and their attainment

of consciousness, the subject of dual consciousness and the

dichotomy and bifurcation of black life and civilization ; but one of

the most dramatic subjects is that of “ the head covering. ” The

head covering provides a nexus between the 14 apparently unconnected

essays that make up *I*The Souls of Black Folk*/I* . Mentioned

at least one time in most of the 14 essays it means that,

“ the Negro is a kind of 7th boy, born with a head covering,

and gifted with 2nd sight in this American universe, -a universe

with outputs him no true uneasiness, but merely lets him

see himself through the disclosure of the other universe. It is

a curious esthesis, this dual consciousness, this sense

of ever looking at one & # 8217 ; s self through the eyes of

others. “ *A href= # Footnote1B

name=Footnote1A*Footnote1*/A* The head covering is a metaphor for the

separation and invisibleness of black life and being in

America and is a reoccurring subject in books about black life

in America.

*br* Du Bois & # 8217 ; s veil metaphor, “ In those drab woods

of his endeavoring his ain psyche rose before him, and he saw

himself, -darkly as though through a head covering ” *A

href= # Footnote2B name=Footnote2A*Footnote2*/A* , is a allusion

to Saint Paul & # 8217 ; s line in Isiah 25:7, “ For now we see

through a glass, in darkness. “ *A href= # Footnote3B

name=Footnote3A*Footnote3*/A* Saint Paul & # 8217 ; s usage of the head covering in

Isiah and subsequently in Second Corinthians is similar to Du Bois & # 8217 ; s

usage of the metaphor of the head covering. Both authors claim that as

long as one is wrapped in the veil their efforts to derive

uneasiness will neglect because they will ever see the

image of themselves reflect back to them by others. Du Bois

applies this by claiming that every bit long as on is behind the

veil the, “ universe which yields him no uneasiness

but who merely lets him see himself through the disclosure of

the other universe. “ *A href= # Footnote4B

name=Footnote4A*Footnote4*/A* Saint Paul in Second

Playboies says the manner to self consciousness and an

understanding prevarications in, “ the head covering being taken off, Now

the Godhead is the spirit and where the spirit of the Godhead is

there is autonomy. ” Du Bois does non claim that

exceeding the head covering will take to a better apprehension of

the Godhead but like Saint Paul he finds that merely through

exceeding “ the head covering ” can people accomplish autonomy

and derive uneasiness.

*br* The head covering metaphor in *I*Souls of Black Folk*/I* is

symbolic of the invisibleness of inkinesss in America. Du Bois

says that Blacks in America are a disregarded people,

“ after the Egyptian and Indian, the Greek and Roman, the

Teuton and Mongolian, the Negro is a kind of 7th boy,

born with a head covering. “ *A href= # Footnote5B

name=Footnote5A*Footnote5*/A* The invisibleness of Black

being in America is one of the grounds why Du Bois writes

*I*Souls of Black Folk*/I* in order to clarify the

“ unseeable ” history and nisuss of Black

Americans, “ I have sought here to chalk out, in vague,

unsure lineation, the religious universe in which ten 1000

Americans live and strive. “ *A href= # Footnote6B

name=Footnote6A*Footnote6*/A* Du Bois in each of the

following chapters attempts to attest the nisuss of Black

being from that of the Reconstruction period to the black

spirituals and the narratives of rural black kids that he

tried to educate. Du Bois in *I*Souls of Black Folk*/I* is

coping with seeking to set up some sense of history and

memory for Black Americans, Du Bois struggles in the pages of

the book to forestall Black Americans from going a Seventh

Son unseeable to the remainder of the universe, hidden behind a head covering

of bias, “ Hear my Cry, O God the reader vouch safe

that this my book autumn non still born into the

world-wilderness. Let there spring, Gentle one, from its

foliages energy of idea and thoughtful title to harvest the

crop wonderful. “ *A href= # Footnote7B


*br* The invisibleness of Black being is a repeating subject

in other books about Black history. In Raboteau & # 8217 ; s book slave

faith is called, “ the unseeable establishment of the

antebellum South. “ *A href= # Footnote8B

name=Footnote8A*Footnote8*/A* Raboteau attempts to bring out and

bring to illume the spiritual patterns of Black slaves, he

tried to convey their history out of the head covering. Rabatoeu writes

how faith for slaves was a manner in which, “ slaves

maintained their individuality as individuals despite a system set on

cut downing them to a subhuman degree & # 8230 ; In the thick of bondage

faith was for the enslaved a infinite of significance, freedom,

and transcendency. “ *A href= # Footnote9B

name=Footnote9A*Footnote9*/A* Because slave faith was an

unseeable establishment hidden by a head covering from white slave

Masterss it provided a manner in which slaves could defy societal

decease. The history of Black adult females is besides the history of a

people made unseeable ; hidden behind the head covering. Bell Hooks in

her survey of Black adult females and feminism attempts to convey to illume

the disregarded yesteryear of black adult females who have besides been hidden

behind a head covering, “ Traditionally, bookmans have emphasized

the impact of bondage on the black male consciousness,

reasoning that black work forces more so than black adult females were the existent

victims of bondage. “ *A href= # Footnote10B

name=Footnote10A*Footnote10*/A* To Bell Hooks the head covering which

makes black adult females unseeable to white society is made from an

inseparable fabrics woven from the togss of racism and

sexism. The Black Reconstruction period is another country in

which bookmans have grappled with the effects of the

head covering which has hidden the history of black nisus and

battle from position. Eric Foner & # 8217 ; s book on the Reconstruction

was the first major survey of the period since Du Bois & # 8217 ; s book

on the period 50 old ages earlier. *A href= # Footnote11B

name=Footnote11A*Footnote11*/A* The Reconstruction which

Foner footings America & # 8217 ; s unfinished revolution could besides be

called American unseeable revolution due to the deficiency of

scholarship on the country.

*br* The most dramatic illustrations of the subject of the head covering and

invisibleness is in literature about Blacks fighting with

their individuality and with subjugation. In *I*Beloved*/I* Setha & # 8217 ; s

rational for killing her kid can non be understood by the

white constabulary system which sentence her to prison. In Ralph

Ellison & # 8217 ; s *I*Invisible Man*/I* the chief character says,

“ I am an unseeable adult male, No I am non a creep like those

that haunted Edgar Allan Poe ; nor am I one of your Hollywood

film ectoplasm & # 8217 ; s. I am a adult male of flesh and bone, fibre and

liquids- and I might even be said to possess a head. I am

unseeable understand because people refuse to see me. “ *A

href= # Footnote12B name=Footnote12A*Footnote12*/A* Ralph

Ellison & # 8217 ; s unseeable adult male like the history of black adult females,

bondage, Reconstruction, and many other elements of black

life are hidden behind “ the head covering ” doing them

unseeable to much of society.

*br* The head covering is besides a metaphor for the separation both

physically and psychologically of inkinesss and Whites America.

Physically the head covering separates inkinesss and Whites through

Slavery, Jim Crow Torahs, economic inequality, and the

voluntary segregation that followed the terminal of the civil war.

The veil Acts of the Apostless as a physical barrier that for good brands

black Americans as an “ other ” ; the head covering is the

metaphorical manifestation of the train paths that divide

the black and white parts of town. Du Bois in Chapter two

ballads out the creative activity of the head covering from the terminal of the civil

war to the failure of Reconstruction. The undermentioned chapters

so Tell of those who have acted to beef up the head coverings such

as Booker T. Washington or who suffered behind the head coverings such

as the school kids Du Bois taught.

*br* The head covering besides acts as a psychological barrier dividing

inkinesss from Whites. The subject of the psychological separation

of inkinesss and Whites is a cardinal metaphor of the book

get downing with the first lines where Du Bois recalls his

brushs with Whites who view him non as a individual but as a

job, “ They half near me in a half-hesitant kind

of manner, oculus me oddly or pityingly, and so alternatively

of stating straight how does it experience to be a job? They

say, I know an Excellent coloured adult male in my town. “ *A

href= # Footnote13B name=Footnote13A*Footnote13*/A* The head covering in

this instance hides the humanity of inkinesss which has of import

deductions to the types of dealingss that developed between

inkinesss and Whites. With their humanity hidden behind

“ the head covering ” black and white dealingss at the clip of

the authorship of the *I*Souls of Black Folk*/I* were marked by

force: bill of exchange public violences in New York during the Civil War, public violences

following the Reconstruction period, the lynching of Blacks,

and the formation of the Klu Klux Klan. *A href= # Footnote14B


*br* The subject of separation caused by the head covering is repeated in

many other black texts. In Raboteau & # 8217 ; s book slave spiritual

patterns were separate from white spiritual patterns. *A

href= # Footnote15B name=Footnote15A*Footnote15*/A* Although

many clip slaves and their Masterss worshipped together

faith during the slavery period provided to really divide

things for maestro and slaves. For the maestro faith was a

manner to warrant slavery*A href= # Footnote16B

name=Footnote16A*Footnote16*/A* and for slaves faith

became a signifier of opposition and hope ; a manner to defy societal

decease. In Eric Foner & # 8217 ; s book on Reconstruction a head covering

separated black and white readings of

Reconstruction. *A href= # Footnote17B

name=Footnote17A*Footnote17*/A* For inkinesss Reconstruction was

a clip of hope and freedom ; for Whites Reconstruction was a

clip in which the North repressed a defeated part, with

nescient former slaves, who unable to move constructively for

themselves were pawns of the northern interlopers. The head covering, a

metaphor for separation both physically and psychologically

fells the humanity of inkinesss, and created deep divisions

between the races.

*br* Du Bois in *I*Souls of Black Folk*/I* unlike other

inkinesss is able to travel around the head covering, operate behind it,

R / & gt ;

lift it, and even exceed it. In the premeditation Du Bois

tells the reader that in the undermentioned chapters he has,

“ Stepped with in the head covering, raising it that you may see

faintly its deeper deferrals, -the significance of its faith,

the passion of its human sorrow, and the battle of its

greater psyche. “ *A href= # Footnote18B

name=Footnote18A*Footnote18*/A* Du Bois in the first Chapter

stairss outside the head covering to uncover the beginning and his consciousness

of the head covering. And it is Du Bois & # 8217 ; s consciousness of the head covering that

allows him to step outside of it and uncover the history of

the Negro, “ his two-ness, -an American, a Negro, two

psyches, two ideas, two unreconciled nisuss, two warring

ideals in one dark organic structure. “ *A href= # Footnote19B

name=Footnote19A*Footnote19*/A* Now that he has lifted the

head covering in the undermentioned chapters Du Bois shows his white

audience the history of the Black adult male following

Reconstruction, the beginnings of the black church. Du Bois so

negotiations about the conditions of persons populating behind the

head covering from his first born boy who, “ With in the head covering was

he born, said I ; and there with in shall he populate, -a Negro

and a Negro & # 8217 ; s boy & # 8230 ; . I saw the shadow of the head covering as it

passed over my babe, I saw the cold metropolis looming above the

blood read land. “ *A href= # Footnote20B

name=Footnote20A*Footnote20*/A* In this transition Du Bois is

both with in and above the head covering. He is a Negro life like

his babe within the head covering but he is besides above the head covering, able

to see it go through over his kid. After Du Bois & # 8217 ; s child dies he

prays that it will, “ sleep boulder clay I sleep, and waken to a

babe voice and the ceaseless spiel of small feet-above the

head covering. “ *A href= # Footnote21B

name=Footnote21A*Footnote21*/A* Here Du Bois is populating above

the head covering but in the undermentioned Chapter he one time once more travels

behind the head covering to state the narrative of Alexander Crummell a

black adult male who for, “ eighty old ages had he wondered in

this same universe of mine, within the Veil. “ *A

href= # Footnote22B name=Footnote22A*Footnote22*/A* Du Bois

so in the last Chapter “ Sorrow Songs ” travels

back into the head covering from which he came, to return to the

religious. Du Bois & # 8217 ; s ability to travel around the head covering could

make some confusion as to whether the author is black. For

this ground Du Bois says in his debut says that,

“ I who speak here am bone of the bone and flesh of the

flesh of them that live within the head covering. “ *A

href= # Footnote23B name=Footnote23A*Footnote23*/A* Du Bois & # 8217 ; s

ability to travel in and out of the veil gives him the ability

to expose to Whites that which is obscured from their position.

It besides lends Du Bois authorization when talking about his

capable affair for he entirely in the book is able to run on

both sides of the head covering.

*br* In the Chapter on “ Sorrow Songs ” Du Bois

implores the reader to lift above the head covering, “ In his good

clip America shall rip the head covering and the captive shall travel

free. “ *A href= # Footnote24B

name=Footnote24A*Footnote24*/A* Du Bois likens the head covering to a

prison that traps Blacks from accomplishing advancement and freedom.

Harmonizing to Du Bois the head covering causes Blacks to accept the

false images that whites see of Blacks. Du Bois although non

explicitly in *I*Souls of Black Folk*/I* review & # 8217 ; s Booker T.

Washington for accepting the head covering and accepting white & # 8217 ; s thoughts

of Blacks. Booker T. Washington an accomidationist accepts

the white thought that inkinesss are job people ; non a people

with a job caused by white racism. *A href= # Footnote25B

name=Footnote25A*Footnote25*/A* Booker T. Washington seeks to

work behind the head covering by prosecuting constabularies of adjustment. Du

Bois in contrast wants inkinesss to exceed the head covering by

politically fomenting and educating themselves.

*br* Du Bois & # 8217 ; s construct of the head covering contradicts some of the

other subject & # 8217 ; s in *I*Souls of Black Folk*/I* . First, how can

the job of the 20th century be that of the

color-line when inkinesss are unseeable behind a head covering of

bias? Second, how can Du Bois speak from behind the head covering

as he does in parts of certain chapters and yet show a

resemble review of society? Third, how can the veil both

do inkinesss unseeable and separate them at the same clip and

do the separations so evident to society. Fourth, how can

Du Bois say inkinesss are gifted with “ 2nd sight ”

when Du Bois says inkinesss are looking at their yesteryear and

present through a head covering? And Fifth, Du Bois & # 8217 ; s prescription for

raising the head covering, instruction and political activism, are merely

little stairss to raising the smothering Fe head covering that keeps

inkinesss unseeable and separated from white America. Du Bois & # 8217 ; s

metaphor has restrictions and internal contradictions ; but

these internal contradictions are minor compared to the power

that “ the head covering ” has as a symbol of black being

in America.

*br* The head covering in *I*Souls of Black Folk*/I* is a metaphor

that connotes the invisibleness of black America, the

separation between Whites and inkinesss, and the obstructions that

inkinesss face in deriving uneasiness in a racialist

society. The head covering is besides a metaphor that reoccurs in other

novels about black nisuss. The head covering is non a two

dimensional fabric to Du Bois but alternatively it is a three

dimensional prison that prevent inkinesss from seeing themselves

as they are but alternatively makes them see the negative

stereotypes that Whites have of them. *A href= # Footnote26B

name=Footnote26A*Footnote26*/A* The head covering is besides to Du Bois

both a blind crease and a snare on the being of “ 10s

1000 1000 ” Americans who live and strive

unseeable and separated from their white brothers and

sisters. Du Bois wrote *I*Souls of Black Folk*/I*s to raise

the head covering and demo the hurting and sorrow of a striving people.

Like Saint Paul & # 8217 ; s missive to the Corinthians Du Bois & # 8217 ; s

“ missive ” to the American people impulses people non to

unrecorded behind the head coverings but to populate above it. */P*

*CENTER**FORM**P*So, wed with truth, */P*

*P*I dwell above the Veil. */P*

*P*Is this the life you grudge us, O knightly America? */P*

*P*-W.E.B. Du Bois*/P*

*P* */P*



*P**A href= # Footnote1A name=Footnote1B*Footnote1*/A**/P*

*P* W.E.B. Du Bois, *I* The Souls of Black Folk*/I* ( New

York: Bantam Company, 1989 ) 3. */P*

*P**A href= # Footnote2A name=Footnote2B*Footnote2*/A**/P*

*P* Ibid. , 6. */P*

*P**A href= # Footnote3A name=Footnote3B*Footnote3*/A**/P*

*P* Arnold Rampersad, *I*Slavery and the literary

imaginativeness: Du Bois & # 8217 ; s The Souls of Black Folk*/I*

( Baltimore: The John Hopkins University Press, 1989 ) 104-125.

Rampersad in his book says that Du Bois & # 8217 ; s metaphor of the

head covering is an allusion to Saint Paul & # 8217 ; s missive to the

Corinthians. */P*

*P**A href= # Footnote4A name=Footnote4B*Footnote4*/A**/P*

*P* W.E.B. Du Bois, *I* The Souls of Black Folk*/I* ( New

York: Bantam Company, 1989 ) 3. */P*

*P**A href= # Footnote5A name=Footnote5B*Footnote5*/A**/P*

*P* Ibid. , 3. */P*

*P**A href= # Footnote6A name=Footnote6B*Footnote6*/A**/P*

*P* Ibid. , xxxi. */P*

*P**A href= # Footnote7A name=Footnote7B*Footnote7*/A**/P*

*P* Ibid. , 189. */P*

*P**A href= # Footnote8A name=Footnote8B*Footnote8*/A**/P*

*P* Albert Rabatoteau, *I*Slave Religion: The unseeable

establishment “ in the Antebellum South ” */I* ( Oxford:

Oxford University Press, 1980 ) 212-318. */P*

*P**A href= # Footnote9A name=Footnote9B*Footnote9*/A**/P*

*P* Ibid. , 318. */P*

*P**A href= # Footnote10A name=Footnote10B*Footnote10*/A**/P*

*P* Bell Hooks, *I*Ain & # 8217 ; T I a Womans: black adult females and

*/I*feminism ( Boston: South End Press, 1981 ) 20. */P*

*P**A href= # Footnote11A name=Footnote11B*Footnote11*/A**/P*

*P* Eric Foner, *I*Reconstruction America & # 8217 ; s Unfinished

Revolution*/I* ( New York: Harper & A ; Row Company, 1989 )

xix-xxvii. */P*

*P**A href= # Footnote12A name=Footnote12B*Footnote12*/A**/P*

*P* Ralph Ellison, *I*Invisible Man*/I* ( New York: Random

House Publishing, 1990 ) 3. */P*

*P**A href= # Footnote13A name=Footnote13B*Footnote13*/A**/P*

*P* W.E.B. Du Bois, *I* The Souls of Black Folk*/I* ( New

York: Bantam Company, 1989 ) 1. */P*

*P**A href= # Footnote14A name=Footnote14B*Footnote14*/A**/P*

*P* Eric Foner, *I*Reconstruction America & # 8217 ; s Unfinished

Revolution*/I* ( New York: Harper & A ; Row Company, 1989 )

119. */P*

*P**A href= # Footnote15A name=Footnote15B*Footnote15*/A**/P*

*P* Albert Rabatoteau, *I*Slave Religion: The unseeable

establishment “ in the Antebellum South ” */I* ( Oxford:

Oxford University Press, 1980 ) 294-300. Harmonizing to

Rabatoteau slaves stressed the shops of Exodus and the

Sermon on Mount therefore supplying them with hope in the darkness

of bondage. */P*

*P**A href= # Footnote16A name=Footnote16B*Footnote16*/A**/P*

*P* Slave proprietors out particular accent on subdivisions of the

Bible which justified bondage, such as the Hamitic

Hypothesis, the Apostle Paul & # 8217 ; s missive to Phileon a slave

proprietor, and the Hebrew Slaves. */P*

*P**A href= # Footnote17A name=Footnote17B*Footnote17*/A**/P*

*P* Eric Foner, *I*Reconstruction America & # 8217 ; s Unfinished

Revolution*/I* ( New York: Harper & A ; Row Company, 1989 )


*P**A href= # Footnote18A name=Footnote18B*Footnote18*/A**/P*

*P* W.E.B. Du Bois, *I* The Souls of Black Folk*/I* ( New

York: Bantam Company, 1989 ) xxxi. */P*

*P**A href= # Footnote19A name=Footnote19B*Footnote19*/A**/P*

*P* Ibid. , 3. */P*

*P**A href= # Footnote20A name=Footnote20B*Footnote20*/A**/P*

*P* Ibid. , 147. */P*

*P**A href= # Footnote21A name=Footnote21B*Footnote21*/A**/P*

*P* Ibid. , 151. */P*

*P**A href= # Footnote22A name=Footnote22B*Footnote22*/A**/P*

*P* Ibid. , 153. */P*

*P**A href= # Footnote23A name=Footnote23B*Footnote23*/A**/P*

*P* Ibid. , xxxii. */P*

*P**A href= # Footnote24A name=Footnote24B*Footnote24*/A**/P*

*P* Ibid. , 187. */P*

*P**A href= # Footnote25A name=Footnote25B*Footnote25*/A**/P*

*P* August Meier, *I*Negro thought in America 1880-1915*/I*

( Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1966 ) 230-232. */P*

*P**A href= # Footnote26A name=Footnote26B*Footnote26*/A**/P*

*P* Paula Giddings, When and Where I Enter ( New York: Quill

William Morrow, 1984 ) 184. Paula Giddings points out how

black adult females were stereotyped into three classs, the

sexless enduring Aunt Jamima, the seductive enchantress

Jezebel, and the evil manipulative Sapphire. These are merely

some of the negative stereotypes of Blacks that formed on the

white side of the head covering. */P*




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