Collections: Grade 11-page Pg. 444 -Answers

Analyzing the Text

Literally, he is describing a scene in the forest as the sun sets. Figuratively, he is describing the end of an era – one by one, the formerly enslaved are dying off. Some of the themes conveyed include respect for the elderly and the passing down of history/memory.

The speaker was never a slave himself, but is descended from them. He represents the poet’s own generation, which watched as those who came before them and had once been enslaved one by one disappeared and are now preserved only through memory and history.

It refers to the profits earned by white people on the food grown by slaves.

The first eight lines describe slavery, and in particular how the slaves weep and toil for no profit of their own. The last six lines reassure the reader that being black is nothing to be ashamed of and that one day this people will rise.

“My brother” does not refer to his biological brother, but to the white man, who owned his people in the past. Therefore, this line refers to how the white man’s children prosper while his own do not, or find it much more difficult to. “Bitter fruit” refers to the fact that the labor of his ancestors was not rewarded; his people are still downtrodden.

The extended metaphor in “Song of the Son” is the “everlasting song.” In “From The Dark Tower,” it is flowers. In “A Black Man Talks of Reaping,” it is planting.

It pulls the somewhat lengthy poem into one cohesive unit and drives his point home by making sure the reader understands it 100%.

They describe slaves – as well as their descendants – as shrouded in darkness, with the promise that someday the sun will rise and black people will not suffer.

All three are mournful. The first is reverential of the narrator’s ancestors, while the last two express frustration for the narrator’s lot in life.

“Song of the Son” seems more interested in looking backward and musing about the experience of slaves. “From The Dark Tower” is hopeful. “A Black Man Talks of Reaping” focuses on the fate of the speaker’s children.


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