“If We Must Die” by Claude Mckay, We Must Fight!!

Topics: Slavery in the United States Pages: 2 (739 words) Published: December 9, 2010
Charles Bailey
“If We Must Die” by Claude McKay, we must fight!!
The poem “If We Must Die, by Claude McKay” is about a certain group of people who are hated and hunted by another group of others. I believe that the poet has made this poem to speak to his fellow African-Americans, who are being mistreated by the white slave owners. The speaker tells his people not to go easily, but rather fight as long as possible and don’t ever give up before they are killed. The poet believes that the worst things that these people can do is giving up and stop trying; he wants them to fight until the very end of their lives.

Right from the beginning of the poem the speaker reiterates the title of the poem and the message that he is trying to convey. “If we must die, let it not be like hogs hunted and penned in an inglorious spot while round us bark the mad and hungry dogs” (1-3). This passage instills the thought in our minds that these people are being hunted and suppressed by others. The speaker knows that the end inevitable, but for himself and others he does not want them to give up. Being corned by hungry dogs should not put fear into their souls, but rather entice them to fight back even more.

Following the lines from before, the speaker establishes the same message as before. He states that letting the hunters of these people kill them in vain is not an option; they were not put on this earth to die for nothing. “If we must die, O let us nobly die/ so that our precious blood may not be shed in vain” (5-7). The speaker states his opinion of the situation very clearly; he wants none of them to believe that they are dying for nothing. African-Americans at the time that this poem was made were dealing with horrible conditions from their white suppressers. The speaker is trying to convey to his fellow African-Americans that letting the white man dominate them completely is the worst thing that they can do, not just for themselves but also all of those who will come...
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