A Sonnet to Negro Soldiers

 

http://library.brown.edu/cds/repository2/repoman.php?verb=render&id=129294798430500&view=pageturner&pageno=12

Imagery strewn throughout the sonnet is utilized to paint a picture of the strong, brave negro man compared to the usual degrading rhetoric found in the early 1900’s. The phrase that stuck out to me the most was the first two lines, “They shall go down unto Life’s Borderland, Walk unafraid within that Living Hell.” This bold statement emphasized the dangers of war and the immense amount of bravery required to survive in “Living Hell”. Being black does not make them any less of a soldier.

The sonnet draws parallels between the war and the struggles Negros face: “Against man’s wrong to man—for such full well They know.” And finally reveals they are fighting for more than just their country, but for themselves: “There breaks this day their dawn of Liberty .”

Powerful language was used to send powerful messages to the reader. Compared to the Freedwoman, the language was impactful: not free-flowing nor full of made-up words.

 

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3 thoughts on “A Sonnet to Negro Soldiers

  1. In “A Sonnet to Negro Soldiers” author Joseph Cotter uses very powerful imagery that leaves you with a recurring whiplash effect underlining the heat of the moment treachery that theses’ 1900’s soldiers had endured. As previous mentioned, the first two lines do not condone the horrific nature of what these innocent soldiers went through. The introductory sentences really set the tone for the cynical cruelty these black soldiers encountered. “They shall go down unto Life’s Borderland, Walk unafraid within that Living Hell.” This bold statement emphasized the dangers of war and the immense amount of bravery required to survive in “Living Hell”. A solider should not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the manner in which they represent their country or cause.

    I really like the use the contrasting similarities between the war and the struggles: “That ’round them falls; but with uplifted hand” signifies the robustness. These men are knowingly going to sacrifice their lives, so that the succeeding generations of black men will live hopeful and victoriously life’s. All in all, this article was more impactful to me than prior reads because of how authoritative the author was about the vengeance of these soldiers right out of the gate.

  2. Group C: Moderators

    “Against man’s wrong to man—for such
    full well,” and “Of Prejudice . E’en though through blood
    it be,
    There breaks this day their dawn of Liberty . ”

    These quotes, from A Sonnet to Negros, I believe further displays the uses of strong imagery as well as the sacrifice these soldiers know they are about to make, as stated above. Yet, it also seems to suggest they are doing so with a fervent passion, just as you would expect someone to fight for their freedom; another strong figure of imagery and thought found throughout the magazine.

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