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American Passages: A Literary SurveyUnit IndexAmerican Passages Home
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3. Utopian Promise   

10. Rhythms
in Poetry

•  Unit Overview
•  Using the Video
•  Authors
•  Timeline
•  Activities
- Overview Questions
- Video
- Author
- Context
- Creative Response
- PBL Projects

Activities: Author Activities

Claude McKay - Author Questions

Back Back to Claude McKay Activities
  1. Comprehension: In "Africa" who or what is the "harlot"? Why does McKay use this word?

  2. Context: McKay uses several animal images in "If We Must Die." To whom does he refer each time? How do the images change? What do you associate with hogs? How are images of dogs associated with African American history, specifically slavery?

  3. Exploration: How does McKay's language differ from that of other poets in this unit, particularly Harlem Renaissance writers? Why do you think he chooses to use this kind of diction? What kind of audience is he trying to reach? What kinds of political and social goals does his poetry seem to harbor?

  4. Exploration: Compare McKay's use of the sonnet to that by African American poets Henrietta Cordelia Ray, Paul Laurence Dunbar, and Gwendolyn Brooks. How does each adapt the sonnet form? How does their use of the sonnet differ from that of some of the other famous modernist sonneteers such as E. E. Cummings, Edna St. Vincent Millay, and Robert Frost?

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