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A Black Man Talks of Reaping

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    A black man talks of reaping I have sown beside all waters in my day. I planted deep, within my heart the fear that wind or fowl would take the grain away. I planted safe against this stark, lean year. I scattered seed enough to plant the land in rows from Canada to Mexico but for my reaping only what the hand can hold at once is all that I can show. Yet what I sowed and what the orchard yields my brother’s sons are gathering stalk and root; small wonder then my children glean in fields they have not sown, and feed on bitter fruit.

    “In this poem, he uses the metaphor of farming to express the bitterness felt by blacks in a racist America. The message of the poem is that black Americans have labored long and hard only to look on while white Americans reap, or har. In his novels and poetry, Bontemps portrayed the lives and struggles of African Americans, a theme that can be seen in his poem “A Black Man Talks of Reaping.” The Black Man Talks of Reaping holds a message and a truth that many people are just now beginning to realize.

    The idea that so many African Americans have helped to make this nation what it has become is an accurate statement. African American’s have gained very little or no compensation for their contributions and this is incredibly dreadful, Bontemps wanted this truth to be understood throughout his work.  Many would even compare this old black man’s troubles to the troubles that Jesus Christ suffered while he traveled through his journey on earth.

    He was also dedicated to his mission and his goals, and still, people shrugged and hurt him too. This proves that whoever said that it is human nature to view a person badly, even though they are so dedicated to doing for others and so eager to assist in any way that they can in any situation, is still punished and tormented just because of their good disposition was right. The situation that this character endured, could force an individual to take on the damned if you do, damned if you don’t attitude and just cause them to give up, yet this particular character pressed on with just a worry for the future of his family.

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    A Black Man Talks of Reaping. (2016, Aug 18). Retrieved from

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