Summary Of The Black Scholar By Etheridge Knight

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From early childhood, parents and teachers expose children to short, rhyming poems, such as the limeric. As they move into middle school, pre-teens gain experience with more complex poems, for example: Shakespeare’s sonnets and Poe’s gothic verse. By the time the students reach high school, they potentially only have exposure to traditional poetry. This inexperience with poems adversely affects the students as they never see freer verse and start to equate rigidity in style with poetry. When they discover free verse, suddenly, poetry seems to transform into a genre without any features to determine quality. Some may even believe that authors may throw aside poetic devices in the name of free verse and self expression. Etheridge Knight acts…show more content…
He relates poetry and music in their ability to physically affect someone with their powerful rhythm and claims that,“ a carpenter throwing away a hammer out of his kit,” one should avoid throwing away a useful tool by ignoring structure and rhyme and (Knight, 92). Despite his criticism about ignoring basic structure, Knight believes that over commitment towards restrictive form is unnecessary. He jokes that “The English might breathe in iambic pentameters, but we don't take in air like that,” (Knight 93). Spoken poetry is akin to breathing, one’s upbringing affects the construction of their poems. Farmers will use metaphors of the ground and seasons while the urban worker may speak of streets and factories. To prove his point Knight reminisces about “toasts,” a poetic precursor to raps, and his time in prison acting as a scribe. Knight learned vocal wordplay from the toasts and, through writing letters to the beloved, he heard the different voices of emotion. These troves of knowledge form the foundation of Knight’s style of oral…show more content…
While hitchhiking his way back home, “The brown / hills and red gullies of Mississippi send out their electric / messages, galvanizing [Etheridge Knight’s] genes,” (The Ideas of Ancestry 23-25). Returning home seems to excite Etheridge Knight, the word galvanization hides hidden meaning. Galvanization is also the process of using electricity to plate steel with zinc to protect the steel from rusting. So, while Knight’s excitement for returning home overflows, he also begins to protect himself for the reactions of his family when he arrives back home. He also uses the metaphor of a salmon, “leaping and bucking up his birthstream,” for his return home (The Idea of Ancestry 26). Etheridge Knight has to fight all the way back to his home. When salmon return to their birthing grounds they sire a new generation of salmon and then die. Similarly Knight hopes to shed his old life in prison and return to his

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