Harlem Renaissance

“From the Dark Tower” by Countee Cullen (1922)

1) Why do you think both of these authors make allusion (reference) to the Bible? or

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Why do you think both of these authors make allusion to planting and harvesting? (3-4 sentences)

2)The fruit is described as “golden” and “bursting.” What are the connotations/implications of these words? What is the quality of the fruit? (3-4 sentences)

3) In plain language, what is Cullen referring to when he says: “plant[ing] while others reap”? What does he mean? Does he have hope that this will ever end? Where do you see evidence of this? (3-4 sentences with textual evidence)

4) In the second stanza, Cullen says the dark of the night is just as beautiful as the light of the stars. What is he really (symbolically) saying here, and why was that such a groundbreaking thing to say for the time period? (3-4 sentences)

“A Black Man Talks of Reaping” by Arna Bontemps (1926)

5) Summarize the second stanza (“I scattered seed…but for my reaping…”) in one to two understandable sentences.

6) The speaker says that what he has been planted is being harvested by others “stalk and root.” What are the connotations/implications of the use of “root” here? (2-3 sentences)

7) Explain what the speaker means by saying that “my children glean in fields they have not sown.” What is the difference in meaning between gleaning and harvesting (reaping)? (2-3 sentences)

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