Resistance vs. Revolution: The Blues in "Dutchman"
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This paper interprets the role played by the blues in the play "Dutchman" by Amiri Baraka, using close readings and other textual analysis. It examines the potential significance of the blues as an African-American art form in "Dutchman", framing this concept with a broader discussion of Baraka's and Ron Karenga's differing attempts to define 'authentically' African-American art. In "Black Cultural Nationalism," Karenga insists that African-American art must necessarily be revolutionary in purpose. However, Baraka's criteria in "The Myth of a Negro Literature" are less stringent, accepting as 'valid' art that is borne of and/or promotes any resistance to white oppression, not only that which can be considered revolutionary. The paper looks at how the blues, as portrayed in "Dutchman," fits into this debate, asking whether Baraka's stance in his play remains consistent with his earlier position, or whether he comes to align himself more with Karenga.
From the Paper:"According to Baraka, music is the only artistic sphere in which African Americans have made a valid contribution, because this music "drew its strengths and beauties out of the depth of the black man's soul" (165). Unlike black middle class art, the blues and jazz can be high art, because they express legitimate African American experiences. Significantly, he attributes this "authentic" art to lower class blacks, writing that "it was shunned by blacks ambitious of 'waking up white'" - i.e., middle class blacks - "as low and degrading" (167). He implies that valid black culture is a lower class culture, and that middle class blacks are too preoccupied with fitting in to white America to contribute significantly to African American art."
Sample of Sources Used:
- Jones, LeRoi. Dutchman. New York: Morrow Quill Paperbacks, 1964.
- Baraka, Amiri. "The Myth of a 'Negro Literature'." Home: Social Essays. New York: Morrow. 1966.
- Karenga, Ron. "Black Cultural Nationalism." Negro Digest 1968 13(3): 5-9.
Cite this Term Paper:
Resistance vs. Revolution: The Blues in "Dutchman" (2007, February 25) Retrieved August 17, 2022, from https://www.academon.com/term-paper/resistance-vs-revolution-the-blues-in-dutchman-92596/
"Resistance vs. Revolution: The Blues in "Dutchman"" 25 February 2007. Web. 17 August. 2022. <https://www.academon.com/term-paper/resistance-vs-revolution-the-blues-in-dutchman-92596/>