In the literary works “The American Dreams” by Genghis Lotus and the “city of refuge” by Rudolph Fisher, both authors seem to express the hope in the American Dream that is not easily fazed. The poem is not set in a specific state in America but focuses on the opportunities that are possible for those in America whether born there or migrated in from another country. The short story “city of refuge” is based on an African American who has moved in to New York from North Carolina to escape mob justice for shooting a white man. In the poem, the poet writes, “Barriers are there to be surmounted. The hippopotamus of improbability is there to be dismissed (12-13).” The poet is trying to show the state of mind that the believers of the American dream have or should have if the American dream should hold any significance to them. In the “city of dreams”, Rudolph Fisher describes Harlem as a place of opportunity in a country where the minority faces so much difficulty. The character King Solomon is immediately at ease when he sees fellow African Americans living and carrying on with life as normally as whites did in the rest of the country. He describes the place as “Negro Harlem (1).” This is symbolic of the fact that, in this part of Harlem, blacks lived free of fear and discrimination, they had full lives, jobs and money they could use. This gave the character, King Solomon hope that he could live and be happy in this place. In the poem, the poet says, “That the son of, say, a Kenyan goatherd, Can beanstalk in one stupendous bound right to the Oval Office (20-24)” referring to the current president of America, Barrack Obama and how he symbolizes hope for all those who come to America and dare to believe in the dream.
In both the literary works, the authors show the futility of looking back or dwelling on the current issues, but the need to look forward to what the future promises. The poet says that what matters is not “the transitional now(4)” in the same context, the character King Solomon is after running away from North Carolina to escape a possible lynching does not dwell on his past but rather on how to handle the opportunities that are possible in “Negro Harlem (1).” In the poem “The American Dreams” but Genghis, the author says, “It is a land of dreams. What is important, in America, Is not, The transitional now..But the glistening pearls of the future (1-8).” In the story “city of refuge” the character King Solomon, is bewildered by the fact that a traffic officer was a black man like himself and the cars that he was controlling carried white folk. This to him was a symbol of what a black man could become in Harlem. Similarly, in the poem, the poet refers to Barrack Obama, the first president of the United States, in both cases. By this, there is a sense of hope for the minority cultural groups to be something of worth in a country that where they suffered so much only if they believe in the American dream. Like many people saw the existence of a black president as a farfetched dream, the character King Solomon could not bring himself to believe that a traffic officer could control vehicles carrying white passengers, in the book it is written that he repeated “Even got cullud policemans(2)” until he comprehended the fact that it was indeed possible. Both of these events, both in the real world and the story, are symbolic of a milestone in the fulfillment of the American dream to a large section of the American people.
In the poem, the poet says, “America dreams that the impossible are possible (15-16).” Similarly, the character King Solomon came to realize that what he thought was impossible in North Carolina was a possibility and a daily occurrence in Harlem, having work, privileges, protection by law and most importantly money. At the time, the author writes a story; African Americans did not have as many opportunities and privileges as the whites did. Those who came to America could only dream of enjoying the same opportunities that the whites had. Both the literary works show a fulfillment of the American dream to those who dared believe in it. King Solomon had the intention of going to Harlem even before the shooting, which, therefore, acted as a trigger, for the character that is referred to in the poem, president Barrack Obama. President Obama has written a book on his belief in the American dream and inspired others to do the same if they do their best. Similarly, the poet says, “That anyone can do this if they try, As long as they try Hard enough (22-24).” Therefore, this means there is hope to achieve greatness in America for those who believe in the American dream.
For King Solomon in the “City of Refuge” the migration to a new land represented a new beginning to him, and the poem is a representative of those who come to America from foreign lands, the poet says, “That the son of, say, A Kenyan goatherd, Can beanstalk in one stupendous bound Right to the Oval Office (18-20).” In America, those who believe in the American dream are presented with numerous opportunities and a new beginning to better them. The poem gives an example of the son of a Kenyan who moved to America and after hard work and believing in the American dream, became the leader of the free world, America, as it is known. In the story “city of refuge”, King Solomon went to Harlem to get a new beginning and escape the consequences of his action in North Carolina. The American dream puts its basis on three main pillars: the freedom from oppression, the freedom from fear, and the freedom from threats. The story is in one way, or the other trying to depict a way, in which the character tries to acquire the basic human rights that were so elusive in those years. The character terms Harlem as the land of opportunity and the City Of Refuge. Furthermore, this proves that, for him, Harlem was a place he could fulfill the American dream. Here his would be protected from those seeking to lynch him, there was the possibility of a job as the traffic officer had, and he could get money. In those years, these were things that African-Americans could only dream off. The poet says, “barriers are to be surmounted (12-13),” the barriers mentioned here could be the social ills like racism that faced the people of African-American heritage for quite a long time.
Fisher, Rudolph, and John McCluskey. The city of refuge the collected stories of Rudolph Fisher. New and expanded ed. Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 2008. Print.
Lotus, Genghis. American dreams. New York, N.Y.: Dutton, 1998. Print.