Literature of Protest: W.E.B. Du Bois, Charles Chestnutt, and Paul Laurence Dunbar

Literature of Protest: W.E.B. Du Bois, Charles Chestnutt, and Paul Laurence Dunbar

Long after the conclusion of the Civil War, we still struggle to fully address, what Frederick Douglass called, “The Race Problem in America.” Though the American literary landscape is primarily occupied by white males, there exists a strong tradition of dissenting voices that articulately protest social injustices. “Of all the social conflicts that animate the literature of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, none matches the force or complexity of the continued subjugation of black Americans during this period” (The Norton Anthology of American Literature 6). Explore this literature of protest as it manifests in the works of Du Bois, Dunbar, and Chesnutt. Look particularly at what each author appears to be protesting. Is the protest explicit or implied? What call to action exists in each author’s work, if any? How are the authors similar and how are they different? Your submission must be at least 1000 words in length, and it must incorporate the number of primary sources assigned in the prompt (one from each author) and at least two other substantive secondary sources from the library databases (no websites). Make sure that your analysis includes support from the texts themselves rather than simply a summary of those texts. You should use proper MLA formatting, including heading, parenthetical citations, and a works cited page.

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