• Citizen is a breathtakingly raw work of poetic literary art that’s core lies in the truths and experiences Rankin so willingly shares. Too much? It’s a great book. Why? Rankin truly does an amazing job eng […]

    • Your blog post made me think of a term that shows up earlier within Citizen. “[T]here exists a medical term – John Henryism – for people exposed to stresses stemming from racism” (Rankine 11). There’s more to that page but when I read this book last semester that term stuck out to me. Another definition for it that I found back then was “a strategy for coping with prolonged exposure to stresses such as social discrimination by expending high levels of effort which results in accumulating physiological costs” (Wikipedia). Throughout the book, your topic of micro-aggression and the trauma it leads to is definitely something to keep in mind.
      Rankine does a good job with her writing to share experiences with someone, who wouldn’t have these experiences, and making them understood. Not only understood, but felt as well. It also makes you wonder whether there’s a solution to this. About what can be done to lead this in a more positive direction, a better outcome. Even a way to just end this stress brought on by anger and racism would be a step in the right direction. It’s hard to figure out what that direction is though.

    • I have had some obstacles to overcome in the past and I am glad of how things turned out because I am grateful for the position I am in. I value education a lot. Within the obstacles, there were moments where I had to reflect and answer a question that was difficult and still is. I wanted to make a change in myself so I had to answer how can I do this? This is what I keep in mind with everything I do. I want to achieve more and raise the bar so that if other obstacles in the future occur, I can look back. A positive outlook is always appreciated. I’m spanish, so I had to deal with jokes that today don’t affect me simply because I don’t stop at that. Instead, I really just hear the joke and swerve my way with words so that I could look good for myself. That is just my take on it. I’m not going to deny that it’s not funny because I too make jokes. It’s reflecting on good times. I don’t have a problem with it today.
      I had a question on page 43 when she referred to the reader as a woman. Why did she call the reader a woman? I came with the conclusion that it made Citizen that much more effective as a interesting book. A person can reflect on their own and when one is put in the spot between the author and the reader, a character comes out. An understanding of what is happening happens and this is when I take a step back and start to think. The author is in a zone. The reader is allowed to input a comment, in my opinion. But, this builds a scene, characters, action, and you’re able to break down the work of Rankine by English terms like metaphor, similies, and tropes. There is a scheme involving women in this page. “Still, in the end, so what, who cares? She had a fifty-fifty chance of getting it right.” This tells me that women have a powerful influence so much so that they would see something happen and come to a conclusion, without affecting them. Claudia Rankine did a good job in making me analyze my own daily experiences.

    • I completely agree with everything you have to say! I, too felt much more aware of of not only the racism and discrimination that is going on in the world around us today, but also it made me become aware of my own and others’ experiences as well. I think the way Rankine formats her novel is extremely effective and eye-opening because she makes the reader become part of the situation. Not only is she explaining the discrimination but puts the reader in the position of someone who is, in that moment. The quote you mention, “How can I help you?” (Rankine 62) is a question we have all thought about but never really answered. I think finding the answer within ourselves is something that we find difficult because we simply don’t know the answers or we are afraid. I think in order to answer the question we must reflect on our own experiences and attempt to figure out what we want and what we don’t want in this world. Being Asian and Jewish, I have definitely experienced racism and stereotypical jokes make at me grwoing up in a predominetly white neighborhood. It was difficult to take and at times, I felt disrespected and dehumanized. People would assume I was a genuis in math or someone would make a joke and say I would probably be a bad driver. These kinds of comments are what create a racist community. Reading this section of Citizen definitely opened my eyes and made me reflect on my own personal experiences and what I would have or should have done in a time where I felt belittled based on my identity.

    • The amount of context you have given us is outstanding and I commend you for going the extra mile to do further research. Everything you have found gives Citizen more life because it is history, what we have learned, and even, what we are experiencing today. I too can feel the emotion that Rankin places in every page, every line, and every word. One section of the prescribed reading that also spoke to me was “The headache evaporates into a state of numbness, a cave of sighs. Over the years you lose the melodrama of seeing yourself as a patient. The sighing ceases; the headaches remain. You hold your head in your hands. You sit still. Rarely do you lie down. You ask yourself, how can I help you?” (Rankin 62) I feel that all of us sometimes see our self as a patient, someone who is helpless and is in need of guidance. Sometimes we hold our head in our hands and wonder how can we possibly go on? But, we take a breath, and ask oneself, “How can I help you”. Instead of looking for outside help, we turn to our self. We analyze an experience, regardless of how difficult the task might be, and find a way to prescribe a cure to make our life a little easier. Rankin perfectly describes how sometimes we all feel; like there is something hovering over our head or extra burdens we carry on our back. However, she makes an effort to point out that is important to take a minute, take a deep breath and find ways to help yourself, because no one else will.

  • So I thought it would be interesting to annotate a review of the original 1959 Broadway production, written by Brooks Atkinson and published March 12, 1959 by the New York Times. It’s a pretty short review of t […]

    • Oh this article. I remember looking at this article thinking I would find an interesting opinion on the original play. But like you, I was a bit disappointed; it was just a summary of the play and talking about the good points of it. And it made me wonder “What are the concerns of these people?” Because it’s very clear that at that moment in time, there was a lot happening. A play that delves into the lives of a black family during the near end of the 50’s going into the 60’s should have had more of a reaction. I do think that trying to review Raisin in the Sun is difficult because watching it and reading it are two different experiences. When watching the play, it can be hard to notice the nuances of the characters. But it should still be attempted. I still think the review is good, just simple.

    • Hi Angelique! I wanted to comment on this blog post because I too wanted to find a review of the original production. This was a time of change, and I wanted to know what critics had to say about a play about a struggling family trying to get by. Although short, both you and I found one thing that really drew us to this review and it was Atkinson stating, “… honesty is the most difficult thing in the world. And also the most illuminating.” I do not think the purpose of his review was to talk about the set or the actors but that it was an honest play. There was real emotion, real struggles this family had to overcome and what families are continuing to overcome. I think he was taken aback by the reality of of the play and having a deeper understanding of struggles individuals and families have to go through to survive. I don’t think there is any other word to describe this play but “honest”.

  • “Harlem (A Dream Deferred)”

    What happens to a dream deferred?

                 Does it dry up

                like a raisin in the sun?

                Or fester like a sore—

                And then run? […]

    • After reading the introduction my first thought was: perhaps this isn’t about color. Could it be that what was meant to be taken from this play was the simple fact that all on this rock (earth) are all alike. We all go through hardships and feel pain. All of us have dreams and aspirations. But most importantly, we all feel the need for acceptance. Our species, in general, seeks out the love of our fellow man-which in turn-allows our hearts to beat as one. Perhaps I am way off with my interpretation, and of course, my mind thinking may also change with a more concise and complete reading. But I have to admit, there is beauty in its simplicity; we are all the same, and one way or another we shall realize that. As far as the feeling goes, I think it is too early to tell. But one thing is for sure, I will enjoy this reading.

      P.S. I enjoyed reading your post. And also, I love how you included, “Harlem (A Dream Deferred)”

      Great job. See you in class.


    • To answer your question about the poem, I immediately began to think about what would happen to a raisin if it were under the sun. I thought it would dry up and become smaller and smaller until it becomes just a little dot. I also thought maybe it would bubble and turn into something like syrup, just like how it said in the poem. To me, this poem describes dreams that weren’t fulfilled or dreams that people had to give up. They can also be dreams that people have their whole life but just have difficulty fulfilling them.
      After reading the intro to the play, I definitely understood how I am supposed to interpret this play. While reading the play I was understanding that this is in the mid 90’s and that it is with a black family/ society. There are many things that already are happening in the beginning of this play that show what’s going on and how there are differences that are trying to be made at the time. For example, Ruth finding out she is pregnant, doesn’t want an abortion, but has to do it, because she believes it will be better for her and her family. Since she already knows that they are not financially stable for this sort of thing to happen in their lives. Another example of a change would be Beneatha trying to explain to her mama and Ruth how she doesn’t want to get married because she wants to have a career of her own and doesn’t want to have to depend on a man to make sure she is okay and has food and clothes on her back. She wants to be able to have her own and this is unusual to Ruth and her mama because this is very untraditional of the women to do. Women have their place with the back society which is to be a wife and have kids, take care of home.
      I am very interested in this play and what will be happening next. I am very excited to read this play because it’s a story of a life event that occurred in the early/mid 90’s. So far I love it!
      Great job with your analysis!

    • To be honest, this introduction for A Raisin in the Sun is the first intro that I have ever read that is actually interesting and really breaks down what the text is saying, how the author felt about it and what they actually wanted their readers to get out of it. This introduction also helps us understand what was going on in society when this text was written. If you read a text without any prior knowledge of it or its author you can come to your own interpretation of the story. But when you learn about the author, their intentions for the text and the time in which it was written it helps you read it in the way the author intended you to.
      You mentioned how A Raisin in the Sun “speaks to what it means to be black in America and how even today this work of art remains so contemporary and showcases a “sad commentary on America” (intro. pg. 13). This last part of this introduction hit me hard, for this one reason. This was written in 1988, (a couple of years before I was born). It is 2017 and although I am not “black” in America, I am a part of the American society and it saddens me that this is still true. We can also see that in today’s society this isn’t only true for blacks, but for other races as well.
      As for how the play makes me feel, it’s too early to tell but it makes me sympathize because it is definitely relatable. My dream and struggle in trying to achieve it is very much similar to Beneatha’s dream.

  • Hello, my name is Angelique but you’re free to call me Angel as most of my family and friends do. I am a transfer student to Queens College and this is my first semester. I’m a native Los Angeleno and moved out to […]

    • I completely agree with your post. I also don’t agree with the terms and conditions that trump has displayed after becoming so powerful (I refuse to use the other ‘P” word). I believe that everyone has is entitled to their own opinion and beliefs, such as religion and political views. HOWEVER Listening to this video one of the speakers said that “It was bad candidates that caused African Americans to leave the republican party and majority become democrats and I think its going to take a “good” candidate (meaning a good republican candidate) to turn the tide and reverse that course” But HAVE THEY NOTICED WHO THEY HAVE IN POWER !!! I’m not a political person but I know a little something about the major issues that we as a country face and its never going to be solved if we have a xenophobic and misogynist person as commander in chief.

    • Preach.