Claude Mckay Kind of Snow Day

Claude McKay’s usage of the sonnet is really very witty. The sonnet has always been used to convey a deep, if not exaggerated, sense of some emotion. Those 16th century sonnets we commonly think about always express some sort of unrequited love, for example. I was learning about the characteristics of sonnets on an Ohio State website and learned that, “Shakespeare would use the sonnet form against itself to poke fun at the long conceits and characteristics.” So, in some ways Claude Mckay is similar to Shakespeare because he uses the sonnets form against itself. For example, the sing-song strict rhyme scheme that sonnets always have gives a really impactful haunting feel to the lynching scene in the poem, especially during the couplet at the end with the “And little lads, lynchers that were to be,/ Danced round the dreadful thing in fiendish glee.” Although Mckay doesn’t discuss love in the typical sense, he is outraged to some extent by injustice to his people, which does stem from love. Another thing that Mckay does differently is the way in which he constructs his argument. 16th century sonnets are all flowery language and pleasant coercion, Mckay’s poems take a demanding tone as if he’s in the caucus ready to make known his political stance and gain followers. It’s not that Mckay changes the sonnets in big ways. Often times the change is subtle and tweaks with form, which I’m not an expert at by any means, so I had to do some research. I found this website helpful and they have the poem displayed. I also found this helpful from Ohio State.


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One Response to Claude Mckay Kind of Snow Day

  1. Oh my gosh :3 That kitty.

    Also, I thought your comparison of McKay to Shakespeare was insightful. I, like you, am not an expert in sonnets so when professors ask in class, “So what does the sonnet form do for the poem?” I sort of just sit there like uhhhh, stuff? So this is a nice little introduction into some of the things a sonnet form is capable of.

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