Harlem Renaissance • After the American Civil war, liberated Africans needed a safe place to go and live out their new free lives • Harlem is considered the “black Mecca” • Harlem became known as “the capital of black America”
Countee Cullen • He is famous for his poems
The Wise Dead men are wisest, for they know How far the roots of flowers go, How long a seed must rot to grow. Dead men alone bear frost and rain On throb less heart and heatless brain, And feel no stir of joy or pain. Dead men alone are satiate; They sleep and dream and have no weight, To curb their rest, of love or hate. Strange, men should flee their company, Or think me strange who long to be Wrapped in their cool immunity.
Poem theme • Dead people are lucky in the sense that they do not have to deal with the hardships of everyday life
Poem Tone • The poem is sad but not sad at the same time because to me Countee is saying that he wants to die but he doesn’t want to at the same time, he wants to die because the dead live so peacefully and without care
Literary devices Dead men are wisest, for they know How far the roots of flowers go, How long a seed must rot to grow. • This is imagery because you can imagine a grave in the ground and flowers growing on top of it with some things rotting from being so old. Dead men alone are satiate; They sleep and dream and have no weight, To curb their rest, of love or hate • This is a hyperbole because it exaggerates a dead man, because dead men cant dream and technically cant comprehend comfort ability.