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How does Mackay express his feelings for the two cultures he belongs to?

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How does Mackay express his feelings for the two cultures he belongs to? Claude Mckay was brought up in Jamaica and moved in the to New York in the 1930s. This was during America's post-economical depression, which meant getting enough money or getting enough money was a very big struggle. It was even a bigger struggle for him to get a good job as an immigrant worker, so he had to settle for menial jobs. Although there was not formal and legal 'segregation' between black and white as there was in the South, there were areas for only blacks or only whites and prejudice was rife. Mckay became a political and social activist for human rights. In his poems, he evokes a strong sense of his homeland in order to assert the power of its beauty, to seek comfort in the emotional and spiritual warmth he remembers about the place. I SHALL RETURN The title 'I shall return' suggests a sense of homesickness and emphasises his determination to go back. ...read more.


The structure of the text has a tremendous significance as it echoes the pattern of thoughts and feelings of the writer. It heads the reader to understand the message. The poem is written in a sonnet, which is important as a sonnet consists of two stanzas; an octave and a Sestet. The octave involves talking about the problems being faced, whilst the Sestet is about finding a solution to the problem: "I shall return again..." So in 'I shall return' he uses the idea of returning to his homeland as a solution to his problem. THE TROPICS OF NEW YORK The title 'The tropics of New York' suggests McKay evolving New York and turning it into his homeland. It could be said that he was missing home so much that he was starting to see visions of his homeland in New York. The title can also suggest Mckay getting used to the Yankees style of life and him finding positive aspects of their culture. ...read more.


This helps to lead the calmness of the stanza. The calmness of the stanza can help evaluate how emotionally touched he was to see these fruits as he probably last saw them a long time ago. He uses a metaphor to describe how he misses his old homeland: "...hungry for the old familiar ways..." The metaphor signals a change from physical longing to emotional and spiritual longing. It shows of how desperate he is to go back to his country. Mckay uses a regular rhythm scheme (a/b/a/b). This helps to contain the emotion. The structure of the poem mirrors the process of seeing the fruit and wanting to eat it, whilst visualising the country it comes from to the spiritual way of life in that place. In conclusion, I found out that Mckay uses both poems to illustrate his feelings towards both places uses techniques such as alliteration, narrative voice, metaphors, vocabulary, structure of the poems etc. His overall feeling is that he misses home and has a great desire to return. He feels living in New York is very painful and he does not seem to want to get use to the its lifestyle: "...hungry for the old familiar ways..." ...read more.

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