Claude McKay (1889-1948)
Things to Consider:
- Use of Dialect and Standard English
- Use of Sonnet Form
- Colonialism and National Identity
- Racial Identity
"Old England" (1912)
- According to the editors, what was McKay the first major
poet to do?
- Describe the relationship among language, syntax, rhythm,
and rhyme in this poem.
- Describe the speaker's conception of England.
- Explain the speaker's conception of England.
"If We Must Die" (1919)
- Why does the speaker wish to go to England?
- How accurate is the speaker's identification of England as
"my own native shore" (28)? Explain.
- What, according to the editors, was the inspiration for
- Which poem form is exemplified here? Be as specific
as possible. Explain.
- Who are "We"? Who are the dogs?
- Explain the final three lines.
Other Discussion Questions:
- Why do the editors specifically say that Winston Churchill
read one of McKay's poems "without attribution" (2463)?
- What does the speaker wish to see in England?
- What is significant about these choices?
- Explain lines 13-16.