Race and Gender in American Literature

Race and Gender in American Literature
















Race and Gender in American Literature

The literary works of Paul Laurence Dunbar and Charlotte Perkins Gilman illustrate different sets of opinions characterized by a similar objective: humanity. Indeed, the compositions written by these authors focus on the human aspect that they desire to attain. For Dunbar, it is clear that he wants the society to perceive African Americans as more human than African. The same also applies for Gilman, in which she needs the society to view her as more human than woman. In the poem, We Wear The Mask, Dunbar speaks of the emotive issues that affect every person. The point driven by the poet involves the similarity between all persons irrespective of the color. Indeed, by reading the poem, the audience understands that even African Americans are more human than what their race dictates.

For instance, Dunbar states, “Why should the world be otherwise, In counting all our tears and sighs? (Dunbar, 2000, p. 8). This assertion by the poet illustrates the emotion that people experience due to their humanity even though the world considers them different. In The Yellow Wallpaper, Gilman focuses on the issue of marriage and the way the society viewed it at that time. From the book, the reader is able to see the emotional suppression that women face based on the way their husbands disregard their humanity. For instance, she writes, “John laughs at me, of course, but one expects that in marriage” (Gilman, 2011, p. 9). This statement illustrates the manner in which Gilman faces consistent patronization from her husband. At this point, she feels that her husband refuses to recognize her freedom and respect her as a human. From their works, it is evident that both authors strive to teach the society the irrelevance of physical aspects such as race and gender.






Dunbar, P. L. (2000). We wear the mask. In P. L. Dunbar (Ed.), Lyrics of lowly life (pp. 8-9). Secaucus, NJ: Carol Publishing Group.

Gilman, C. P. (2011). The yellow wallpaper. Hollywood, FL: Simon & Brown.

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