October 15, 2008
AP English III Period 11
The Slave’s Dream
The Slave’s Dream is an incredible, deep poem about the dream of a slave. The writing components used to create a tone of injustice was presented in a creative way. They produced a deeper meaning to the simple sentences said throughout the poem. It makes the reader grasp for a deeper understanding.
The author is understood through his writing style by using diction, imagery, and personification to get across his tone to the reader. “Wide through the landscape of his dreams the lordly Niger flowed.” (Lines 7-8) This line is an example of the diction that he uses. The way the sentence is worded brings many questions to mind. Why is the Niger lordly? Why is the “N” in Niger capitalized? Just to ask a few. When the poet was writing he used lordly to contrast what the reader already knows about slavery. Common knowledge of slavery is that all slaves were treated badly and inhumane. Lordly, though usually intended to mean something worthy, is used in context to get across to the reader the way the slave viewed himself in his dream. He considered himself to be worthy and noble. He is admirable of himself in his dream and so he walks around his imaginative Africa as though he is of royalty; his way of escaping from reality and all of its pain. “He saw once more his dark-eyed queen among her children stand; they clasped his neck, they kissed his cheeks, they held him by the hand!” (Lines 13-16) The writer uses imagery in this statement. The way he describes the children’s affection for the father after they see him, is just so vibrant. You can tell by the affection that they show, it as though they do not see their father often and spend quality time with him. This statement also helps acknowledge the facts of slavery and how most blacks were separated from their families. The man dreams of this affection because it is something that he desires but does not posses. He is showing what basic affection he is lacking due to his rank on the social ladder. “The forests, with their myriad tongues, shouted of liberty.” (Lines 37-38) The writer uses personification to bring the forest to life. He wants the reader to see that they did rally for freedom, in a variety of ways, but they were still denied this luxury. These writing style components gave the poem more of a creative and inquisitive outlook. The way the writer wrote about every aspect of the dream, he gave deeper meaning to wanting something that you can’t have. The author’s tone is injustice throughout the poem. Injustice is shown when the dream is everything that the black man desires but lacks due to his powerless state. His rights were taken away from him due to the inequality and unfairness going on during that time period. The tone shows the authors’ annoyed attitude toward slavery. The author is annoyed with the unjust treatment of slavery. He feels the rights of slaves were unreasonably taken away.