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The Souls of Black Folk argumentative essay help online an annotated bibliography essay

In addition to these enduring concepts, this work offers an assessment of the progress of mankind, the obstacles to that progress, and the possibilities for future progress as the nation entered the twentieth century. In The Souls of Black Folk, Du Bois illustrates the very poignant image of a color line that separates the two races in his society. He introduces the term double consciousness to explain how African-Americans view themselves, not as individuals but as a collective group; a perception made through the eyes of the society that they lived in.

This perception produces what Du Bois calls a “twoness” of American Negroes. It is this sense of “always looking at one’s self through the eyes of others, of measuring one’s soul by the type of world that looks on in amused contempt and pity. ” (Du Bois 3). The notion of double consciousness speaks not only to African Americans but to humanity as a whole. Du Bois’ theory of double consciousness is also complicated in this novel because he does not leave room for those individuals who do not fit his strict black and white template.

There is no gray area. Every individual can identify himself as part of one group on opposite sides of the veil. Can a human being exist in society as an individual or is one’s identity only defined by the group that they associate themselves with? Double consciousness refers to the idea that we see ourselves through the eyes of others. Du Bois uses this term to describe the felt confusion that exists between social standards and daily experience for blacks in this country.

Throughout the book, it is evident that Du Bois’ idea of double consciousness has two manifestations. The first is the power that white stereotypes could have on African American views. He argues that despite having the knowledge of truth, African Americans continue to force themselves into a context of misrepresentation that is used to define their people. By submitting themselves to these paradigms, African Americans allow themselves to remain the inferior race.

The second demonstration of double consciousness is the racism that excluded African Americans from the mainstream of society. The African Americans struggled to identify themselves and for them the internal conflict came from being African and being American simultaneously. Though they were native to America they were not considered to be American because their roots lied in Africa. They were thought to be foreign, and separate from the rest of the population, which is how they soon began to view themselves.

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