Perspectives

Literary perspective

The short story “On Being Crazy” by W. E. B. Du Bois was published in 1923, during the modernist Harlem Renaissance movement in the US. The term refers to a cultural movement that began in the 1920s in the neighborhood of Harlem, New York City, and th…

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Historical perspective

The short story “On Being Crazy” is set during the Jim Crow era. Jim Crow laws in the United States were laws that enforced racial segregation, following the emancipation of black people. The short story…

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Works with the same theme

The poem “Harlem” by Langston Hughes also belongs to the Harlem Renaissance movement. The poem talks about dreams and touches upon the theme of inequality and injustice. Both “Harlem” and “On Being Crazy” look at the condition of Black people and the issue of racial inequality in the US. However, while “Harlem” contains an optimistic message for the future, the short story “On Being Crazy” ends with the narrator’s disappointment and feeling of powerlessness when dealing with racial inequality: “I gave up” (p. 4, l. 12). 

The short story “The Bench” by Richard Rave also explores the issue of racism and racial segregation. In the story, Karl…

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