Literary Concepts and Elements Presented by American Authors

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Literary Concepts and Elements Presented by American Authors

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Literary Concepts and Elements Presented by American Authors

Throughout America's history, authors have incorporated several literary elements to draw pictures and create symphonies with words. Modern ethnic artists have held tight to this tradition. Twentieth century writers Richard Wright, Gwendolyn Brooks, Alice Walker, and Louise Erdrich composed fictional tapestries using the literary elements of juxtaposition, background exposition, and symbolism.

Richard Wright

In Long Black Song (McQuade et al., 1999), the main character is Sarah and she has just been intimate with the white salesman who has gone home. As she is lying in her bed, she thinks she hears her husband Silas come home and she sits upright in fear. This feeling of fear is juxtaposed with the feeling of "vast peace" (McQuade et al., p. 2239) that Sarah feels once she realizes Silas is not coming home just yet.

Wright uses juxtaposition to show that although Sarah fears the repercussions of being unfaithful to her husband she was basking in the peacefulness she felt in the moments after the act. Despite being married to Silas, she feels lonely and unhappy. The intimacy that Sarah shares with the stranger allows Sarah to be happy for a brief time.

The element of background exposition is used when describing Silas' feeling of hopelessness and anger after he has killed the white man. "Ef Ah run erway, Ah ain got nothing. Ef Ah stay n fight, Ah ain got nothing. It dont make no difference which way Ah go" (McQuade et al., 1999, p.2246). Silas has experienced the unfairness of inequality and no one would care that he killed in self defense. He knew that his fate was to die.

Wright used symbolism to describe the passion and the...