Souls of Black Folk

Topics: Black people, White people, African American Pages: 4 (1264 words) Published: October 1, 2013

Book review for Dubois “Souls of Black Folk”

The beautiful and profound narrative titled The Souls of Black Folk by W E B Dubois explored and explained the multi-layered problems pertaining to race and identity as they unfolded after the civil war. Thee poignant themes resonated in his writings and stuck out as pivotal and revolutionary. The first one was the notion of a double consciousness as it relates to blacks in a white world. The idea of a veil was a strong metaphor in his writing on this subject. The second theme that was explored was the idea of “negro as a problem”(pg. 17) Lastly but no less important was the idea of education and what it’s implications were for black folk versus white folk.

W.E.B. Dubois was born in Great Barrington, Mass (not far from where I was raised) and he mentioned in the reading how he did not experience the discrimination and duality of how one sees himself versus how others see him until he left the Berkshires. As he ventured out into the rest of the country, he experienced ”the veil”, as he put it on page 61 in the text, the notion of double consciousness and “looking at oneself through the eyes of others.” For Dubois, the veil and the idea of double consciousness are deeply entwined. The veil concept refers to a few different things. First, the veil refers to the literal darker skin of blacks, which is a physical marker of difference from whiteness. Next, the veil suggests white peoples skewed vision and inability to see blacks as “true” Americans. The third thing the veil signifies is the Blacks eschewed vision, and their inability to clearly see themselves outside of the categorization that the white Americans put them in. The double consciousness is closely related to this last example.

The second theme that was explored was the idea of “negro as a problem”. Chapter One, Of Our Spiritual Strivings, begins as follows: “BETWEEN me and the other world there is ever an unasked question: unasked by some...
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