Double Consciousness In W.E.B. Dubois' Works Essay

2492 WordsMar 9, 201210 Pages
Double consciousness can be defined as a consciousness in which you are aware that you are different from other people. Whether the difference is race, class, gender, or religion, you are not considered to be a part of the “crowd.” Regardless of what situation arises, you are aware of you position in life, and your status, and at all times these factors serve as a reminder for you to know your place and your role. Several African American writers used the concept of double consciousness in their early writings to show how they felt as a slave and as an individual. Often times the slave masters did not care how they treated their slaves, but the slaves had the opportunity to look at the situation as the slave as well as understand and know how they were supposed to react to their masters. Du Bois 1897 Atlantic magazine essay, “Strivings of the Negro People”-later republished, with revisions, in The Souls of Black Folk (1903)-in which Du Bois spoke of an African American “double consciousness,” a “two-ness” of being “an American, a Negro; two warring ideals in one dark body, whose dogged strength alone keeps it from being torn asunder (Bruce 3). Du Bois uses the idea of double consciousness to distinguish issues of race. In The Souls of Black Folk, arguably W. E. B. Du Bois’ most famous work, he introduces and addresses two main concepts that describe the quintessential Black experience in America- the concepts of “the veil” and “double-consciousness.” Though Du Bois uses these terms separately, their meanings and usage in his works is deeply intertwined. These two concepts gave a name to what so many African-Americans felt but previously could not express due to a lack of works to accurately describe their pain. The implication and connotation of these words were far-reaching because not only did it succinctly describe the plight of being Black and American then,

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