The Harlem Renaissance was characterized by a revolution of African American arts. It was mainly influenced by the migration of the African Americans most of which settled in the neighborhood of Harlem in New York. The Harlem Renaissance also influenced many writers who lived outside New York and America at large. Each author developed their unique style of writing focusing on different themes and subjects. The style of an author defines their work. Various authors employ their unique style, themes and their style of narration. Some authors choose to use personal narrative in order to make their audience or their readers the ability to relate to the reading from a personal perspective. For instance, Toni Morrison often incorporates numerous writing styles in her works that include varied sentence structures and switching the voice of narration. A result of her choice is an explicit literature that is easy to understand, and that is appealing to her readers. Toni Morrison and Claude McKay use their unique writing style in addressing the different issues and themes that brought about the Harlem Renaissance.
Morrison is known to use the idea of comparison in her multiple of works. She uses this kind of technique in order to evoke the notion of contrasting with different ideas between certain phenomena that she is tackling. She often gives additional narrative to the details that she presents so that she can bring out the meaning of the numerous allegories and expressions that she uses to help her readers to link the content with unconventional imageries and experiences. She exhibits this form of writing in ‘The Bluest Eye’ when she tells us about the night that Breedlove lay awake at night listening to her mother and father fighting, she exclaims ‘the unquarreled evening hug like the first note of a dirge in sullenly expectant air’’ (Morrison 2007, p41). These comparisons not only make Morrison’s works more appealing and alluring but also they underwrite the overall style of her writing.
Another prolific writer of the Harlem Renaissance times is Claude McKay. He is credited with bringing to the fore the kind of life that peasants led on the Caribbean island of Jamaica and his works that were in the critique of the white domination. His main themes range from racism and civil issues to challenging the authority and domination of white people. He often employs the third-person narrative style in contrast to Morrison, who switches the voice of narration from time to time. He chooses to delve into the stark reality, precise detail and the good, as well as the bad side of Harlem. Infusing the reality of the neighborhood that he lived in, he gives the readers a chance to visualize and get the grim and vivid picture of the place that was the epitome of racism in America. He somewhat represents some views in first-person through the characters, he gives the distinct roles that shape them in the entire narrative.
As Morrison incorporates significant reference to historical happenings, she also infuses this theme in this book when the child Breedlove says that ‘‘outdoors, we knew, was the real terror of life. The threat of being outdoors frequently surfaced in those days’’ (Morrison 2007, p17). She uses different types of sentences in order to bring out the clear sentence structure by making her writing much more fluid. Her use of creative analogies and numerous excerpts from history also makes her stories more legitimate. McKay also used the informal ghetto language that was most prevalent in his works. It makes the racial minorities among which he existed relate with his works, for instance, when he writes ‘‘don’t go off shooting your mouth too free. Gov’mant still smoking out deserters and draft dodgers’’ (McKay 1928, p22).
Morrison, Toni. (2007). The Bluest Eye. New York: Vintage.
McKay, Claude. (1928). Home to Harlem. Boston: North Eastern University Press.