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The Different Conceptions of the Veil in The Souls of Black Folk For now we see through a glass darkly -Isiah 257 WEB Du Boiss Souls of Black Folk a collection of autobiographical and historical essays contains many themes There is the theme of souls and their attainment of consciousness the theme of double consciousness and the duality and bifurcation of black life and culture but one of the most striking themes is that of the veil The veil provides a link between the 14 seemingly unconnected essays that make up The Souls of Black Folk Mentioned at least once in most of the 14 essays it means that the Negro is a sort of seventh son born with a veil and gifted with second sight in this American world -a world with yields him no true self-consciousness but only lets him see himself through the revelation of the other world It is a peculiar sensation this double consciousness this sense of always looking at ones self through the eyes of othersFootnote1 The veil is a metaphor for the separation and invisibility of black life and existence in America and is a reoccurring theme in books about black life in America Du Boiss veil metaphor In those somber forests of his striving his own soul rose before him and he saw himself -darkly as though through a veilFootnote2 is a allusion to Saint Pauls line in Isiah 257 For now we see through a glass darklyFootnote3 Saint Pauls use of the veil in Isiah and later in Second Corinthians is similar to Du Boiss use of the metaphor of the veil Both writers claim that as long as one is wrapped in the veil their attempts to gain self-consciousness will fail because they will always see the image of themselves reflect back to them by others Du Bois applies this by claiming
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