- by W.E.B. DU BOIS
- Featured on: The Best American Essays of the Century
- Read it: https://www.bartleby.com/114/13.html
Essay Review: "Of the Coming of John" by W.E.B. DU BOIS
"Of the Coming of John" by W.E.B. Du Bois is a strong essay that addresses the topics of identity, race, and community in early 20th-century America. The essay serves as a reflection on the arrival of a new generation of black Americans who were born after the end of slavery and raised in the aftermath of the Civil War. Du Bois examines the challenges and opportunities facing this new generation and considers the significance of these events for the future of the black community via this lens.
At its core, the essay is an investigation of the psychological and cultural components of racial identity in America. Du Bois contends that the new generation of black Americans is striving to establish a sense of belonging in a country that is still contending with the legacy of slavery and segregation. He observes that this generation is conflicted between their desire to adapt to white culture and their commitment to their own racial heritage. Through this lens, Du Bois highlights the complex and subtle nature of racial identity and the ways in which it is influenced by societal norms and expectations.
In order to prove his thesis, Du Bois presents a vivid and thorough narrative of the life of the protagonist, John, and his struggles to achieve a feeling of belonging in America. He explains John's experiences growing up in a small, black village, his sense of isolation and confusion as he navigates the complexity of white society, and his ultimate rejection of both worlds in favor of a more real and autonomous identity. Through John's journey, Du Bois makes a striking reflection on the issues facing black Americans and the value of racial pride and self-discovery.
While the essay is primarily focused on the experiences of black Americans, it is not limited in its breadth. Du Bois's musings on racial identity and community have broader ramifications for all individuals and communities who struggle to establish a feeling of belonging in a constantly changing world. The essay serves as a call to action, challenging readers to critically evaluate their own views and values and to challenge the norms and expectations of their respective communities.
In conclusion, "Of the Coming of John" by W.E.B. Du Bois is a strong and thought-provoking essay that tackles the topics of identity, race, and community in early 20th-century America. Through its colorful story and smart analysis, the essay presents a deep reflection on the issues facing black Americans and the necessity of racial pride and self-discovery. The essay is a significant contribution to the field of African American studies, and experts and students interested in these fields must study it.