The Song of the Smoke Summary & Study Guide

This Study Guide consists of approximately 29 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of The Song of the Smoke.
This section contains 1,877 words
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Lines 1-2

As this poem begins, Du Bois identifies the persona of the poem as "the Smoke King." The second line proclaims that, despite this light color, the persona is "black." This was a startling proclamation for the time, as "color" had become as much of an issue in the African-American culture as outside it. Lighter skinned people "passed" as white, of course, but there was also a general acceptance of the notion in the African-American culture that lighter skin was preferable. Du Bois himself was a very light-skinned black man, and he strongly objected to this kind of distinction.

Lines 5-7

The image of "smoke" takes the shape here of an idea, as well as of the smoke coming from the stacks of the factories where great numbers of blacks who had come north worked at low-paying jobs. The "thought" is the collective black memory of the...

(read more from the Poem Summary section)

This section contains 1,877 words
(approx. 5 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The Song of the Smoke Study Guide
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Poetry for Students
The Song of the Smoke from Poetry for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.