Going by the lives of the characters such as Walt Whitman, Dr. John Henrik Clarke and George Washington Cable, then the statement the pen is mightier than the sword comes into play. They are characters who were able to defy the conventions of the times in which they lived and addressed the issues that most were afraid of dealing with at that time. Using literature as their tool to propagate their unconventional ideas at a time when no one dared. It is the aim of this essay to look at how the characters, setting and the world view of the three characters embodies the progress that literature has taken in dealing with todays issues using history as the guide to dealing with them. In achieving this aim, several video lectures will serve as the guide on how the three characters shaped the history of literature from the expansionism period to the current world.
After watching the video lectures Harold Bloom lecture on Walt Whitman, The Haunted House in Royal Street by George Washington Cable and Dr. John Henrik Clarke- The Booker T. Washington Era (1865-1915 one can clearly tell the similarity in the settings as can be seen in the manner in which some themes such as slavery and feminism dominate them. They are all set during the expansionism period when America and the rest of the world was dealing with cases of discrimination and abuse of human rights due to the societal divisions brought out by binarism. For example in Walt Whitmans poems such as Leaves of grass and A song of myself, Bloom points at the manner in which feminism emerged as a strong theme (Cereal). He points at how Whitman pointed at the aspect of equality for all whether man or woman through the way he blurred the literal definitions of men and women in poetry. Similarly in Booker T. Washington era set during the period of 1865 and 1915, the world was grappling cases of discrimination and abuse of the rights of the black community by the white politicians during the civil war period (Mossberg). It is a theme that forms part of the setting in The Haunted House in Royal Street lecture in which the horrors of slavery were evident (everyone). All the lectures speak of characters that lived during the period of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century when discriminations were of the highest magnitude in American and other parts of the world.
It is evident that three characters; Walt Whitman, Dr. John Henrik Clarke and those pointed by George Washington Cable share the same perspective that slavery and any other form of discrimination is evil. This can be seen in the manner in which all their works vehemently propagate the message of equality for all regardless of the age, sex or even race. They are all against discrimination and use their works to point out at the dire consequences of the divisions created by people such as race and sex. The perspective is well shared in the literary world today as most authors, poets and artists use literature and art as a tool to propel the message that race and gender discrimination is evil. It is a perspective that has thus passed on from the literal figures of the expansionism period to the modern literature.
Based on the life, times and the character of the three subjects dealt in the three videos, it is evident that their work falls under those produced during the expansionism period where the major theme in most of the works was on equality of human beings regardless of their race, age or sex. This is clearly evident in the characters, settings and the worldview of the three subjects dealt in the video lectures and relates well with the activism in the modern world where literature and art is used to fight gender and race discrimination.
Cereal, Electric. Harold Bloom Lecture on Walt Whitman. 13 March 2014. 1 May 2016 <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Io5mFFArsX4>.
everyone, FULL audio books for. The 'Haunted House' in Royal Street by George Washington Cable. 10 October 2012. 1 May 2016 <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dGEu9rp_920>.
Mossberg, Donnie. Dr. John Henrik Clarke - The Booker T. Washington Era (1865-1915). 17 February 2013. 1 May 2016 <https://youtu.be/lx_WpFhD2Gg>.
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