The Souls of Black Folk Themes

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In "Of Our Spiritual Strivings," Du Bois makes reference to the experience of "double-consciousness, this sense of always looking at one's self through the eyes of others." This concept of dual identity appears throughout the text in nearly every essay and is central to the author's goal in making the African-American condition understood. Du Bois contends that African Americans experience a split in self-concept because they are regarded with "contempt and pity" by the majority of their fellow Americans. As both "Negro" and American, black people are organized into public and private identities, neither regarded as whole by mainstream, white America. This theme extends into the contradictory nature of American policies toward black people during the time the work was written. For example, although as an African American in New England, Du Bois was able to attend Harvard University and was afforded many of the privileges of any...

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This section contains 332 words
(approx. 1 page at 400 words per page)
Buy The Souls of Black Folk Study Guide
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Nonfiction Classics for Students
The Souls of Black Folk from Nonfiction Classics for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.