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Word Count: 955
Heritage by Countee Cullen was written during the Harlem Renaissance The poem is about a black African American who feels culturally trapped He tries to forget his past but he feels that the fast will come back and bite him The narrator is proud of his own heritage but he is also ashamed of being black Africans are portrayed as wild savages and uncivilised by the narrator He has a love hate relationship with people from his own race The narrator He even refers to them as primitive The main themes in this poem are slavery ignorance and confusion The writing style used is formal and there is no use of slangs or coined term words In certain parts of the poem words and phrases are repeatedSlavery is an important theme in this poem Slaves were brought over in boats to the new world The first line of the stanza So I lie who all day long Cullen depicts the slaves living condition on board They were crammed into the lower decks of the ship and had to lie down because of lack of space The slave trade is also represented by the depiction of water in this poem The Middle Passage is the name given to the African slave trade For blacks water symbolises slavery because the Middle Passage relied a lot on maritime transportation For blacks water symbolises imprisonment and death At the end of the Stanza the narrator mentions Channels of the chaffing net were they surge foam and fret Cullen The Chaffing net Cullen was used by slave owners to prevent slaves from escaping the ship Foam is associated with the ocean and the moving waves Another predominant theme in this poem other than slavery is ConfusionThe narrator is confused about his own heritage He begins by talking about Africa and how proud he is of his ancestry Africa is initially described as being wild and beautiful There
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