Colored People A Memoir English Literature Essay

October 17, 2017 English Literature

Over the old ages, a batch of cultural studies and surveies have already been conducted, turn outing that a batch of people and civilizations really find the African American society animating. These surveies resulted to farther academic ventures that aim at understanding the African American community better. A batch of these experts focused on the peculiar African American ‘s beliefs and ideals on religion, while other continued to discourse about their cultural and historical heritage. In line with this enterprise, Henry Louis Gates Jr. besides participated in an extensive survey which resulted to a critically acclaimed book which deals about the lives of African Americans. This book was named, Colored Peoples: A Memoir. This treatment shall take to supply an overview of what the book was about while analysing its context. This shall besides function as an insightful response which will stress on one of the most critical facets of the African American community as portrayed in the book, religion.

A batch of authors who delved on historical and cultural subjects have earned rightful prestigiousness in the halls of American literature history. Apparently, Henry Louis Gates Jr. is one of them. In his composing calling, he achieved legion congratulationss and positive response from both readers and critics and got recognized as one of the most well-thought-of experts on Afro-american history and literature. Apart from this, he has been regarded as one of the modern pillars of Afro-american surveies plan in Harvard University and as a noteworthy academic winner in Cambridge University for being the first African American to have a Phd grade. Biographic histories show that authorship and literature have been important facets of his life and that he has already came up with legion articles, books, essays and reappraisals on issues and ideals associating to the African-American community. These are merely among the many other acknowledgments he received so far which turn out his literary command particularly under this capable affair.

Colored People is a literary work which serves as Gates ‘ personal history of his life while he was turning up in West Virginia around the clip of the 1950s up to the sixties. As what he explains in his treatment, Piedmont us an immigrant on the job category town, and during his clip, life was particularly torturing for the African Americans. Gates professes that the life was so difficult the lone nice occupation offered to black work forces was the local paper factory truck loader business ( Gates, 1994 ) .

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Gates recalls that at the juvenile age of 12, he was already cognizant and was really devastated by several social issues. The major issue which seemingly affected him the most was his female parent ‘s status. He retells that his female parent suffered a depressive upset which forced him to take portion in a local Baptist church where he urgently pursued restrictive fundamentalism. For several old ages, he longed for his male parent ‘s counsel and blessing. However, though this facet of his childhood was most of the clip absent, he was determined plenty to passionately emerge himself with the power of black American motion during the mid 1960s ( Gates, 1994 ) . Harmonizing to him, his male parent was a cold individual and was really hard to delight ; his male parent besides perceived inkinesss as weak and was ever hard on them.

Critical Aspect of the African American Society: Religion

As what is evident from Colored People, Gates recognized the important function of the church in the life of Americans during the in-between decennaries of the twentieth century. To him, issues that concern segregation, alcohol addiction, public address and music are all related. In the African American community, religion was really cardinal as it aided people in seeking account and understanding issues such as racism. Merely as Gates believed, the screens of the church provide penetration into the issues ( Gates, 1994 ) . And in his aim of doing the book comprehensible for the layperson readers, Gates besides employed singular literary devices such as paradox, indirection and wit. Though the chief message of the book was really animating in itself, it could however be observed that the narrative presents a instead braggart and contemptuous tone. However, though this may look as a individual booby trap, this does non do the book less clear as compared to other plants that discuss a similar facet in the African American civilization.

Colored People is a narrative which depicts several experiences by a immature adult male politically, intellectually, emotionally and even sexually. In this work, Gates employs his inventiveness when it comes to composing ; and with the inspiration from memorable life incidents like his discover of his female parent being a civil rights March leader, he was able to absolutely convey up the issues. He was besides able to put out, with so much with and inventiveness, the societal and emotional worlds from a universe which transited from racism. From the worlds of being a black American life in a white society, to the worlds contending for the rights of being a black American, Gates was able to limpidly and stirringly capture the empathy of his readers while making an accurate history of his life from birth up to his literary ventures after his surveies ( Gates, 1994 ) .

Gates ‘ mode of authorship can frequently be observed to be really stirring, which most of the clip emphasizes of his ventures and dreams while he was turning from a immature male child to a adult male. He was really precise with his personal histories of his brushs and experiences which added spice and exhilaration to his comparatively long memoir. The narrative manner besides goes beyond his agonies and his battle for his male parent ‘s attending. And despite the book being merely another history of childhood, racism, household and civil rights, there is really more to its message and inspiration aside from these things. It really covers a deeper and a more religious message which poses more relevant message as compared to these typical topics.

Fondly and humorously, Colored People retells a narrative of what life is like while turning up in a racialist society. Gates was able to foreground the resiliency of African Americans when it comes to category and personal experiences in such layman linguistic communication. Gates professed that such issues greatly shapes the African American manner of life in important ways. But most significantly, he focused on how of import faith really is in the aim of somehow relieving such agony. Sing his ain experiences and ideals, he was able to invent his ain perceptual experience of life as an African American in the United States aa‚¬ ” full of enduring but however showered with pride and fulfilment.

Colored People got legion positive reappraisals and critical remarks since its publication. But despite such acknowledgments, a batch of people still think Gates do non merit the sort of attending he has been acquiring. Some critics claim the the work really lacks critical disposition like other literary plants on the topic of African American society. Furthermore, a batch of critics claim that Gates really centered on the topic of African American society excessively much, go forthing all the other important issues about segregation overlooked. Harmonizing to these critics, Gates became so Afro-centric which made him neglect to see public assistance of other non-African Americans. But despite such harangues and hateful, in the terminal what matters is the sort of message Gates ‘ work was able to exudate. Aside from his literary art, this work really serves as a cogent evidence of how good founded Gates is in footings of spiritualty. Apart from the proficient literary facet, it could be said that what is more singular is the fact that this work was able to integrate faith and religion in issues like racism in a manner that it serves as an reply and a solution.

However, it is incontestible that Colored People was able to turn to some of the most relevant facets of civilization and history aside from faith and spiritualty. Apparently, Gates has showcased effectual communicating accomplishments which enabled him to do his text apprehensible to a battalion of readers. Furthermore, it contributed to the apprehension of the influence of faith in American life. Gates has besides comprehensively discussed the issues that involve the ideal of redemption through supplications particularly during the most seeking minutes of his life. For the readers to holistically understand the writer ‘s position point, it is so of import to foremost hold a basic clasp of faith or religion since this work is greatly based on it.


Colored People provides an insightful piece of literary work which can be read by anyone due to its simplistic narrative manner. It appears more appealing particularly for those who are non merely influenced but besides tracked by the impact of faith on the American civilization. In this memoir, Gates has positioned faith in the civil rights epoch, and therefore, in the development of this rational penetration, he provided the reader with a fascinating and of import lesson. In reflecting the Afro-american religion in a deeper and more extended context, Gates explored gender, socialisation, and household which, harmonizing to him, are affairs that are bound to happen when one comes of age.


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