The Different Conceptions Of The Veil In The Souls Of Black Folk



"For now we see through a glass, darkly"
-Isiah 25:7

W.E.B. Du Bois's Souls of Black Folk, a collection of autobiographical
and historical essays contains many themes. There is the theme of souls and
their attainment of consciousness, the theme of double consciousness and the
duality and bifurcation of black life and culture; but one of the most striking
themes is that of "the veil." The veil provides a link between the 14 seemingly
unconnected essays that make up The Souls of Black Folk. Mentioned at least once
in most of the 14 essays it means that, "the Negro is a sort of seventh son,
born with a veil, and gifted with second sight in this American world, -a world
with yields ...

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him, and he saw himself, -darkly as though through a
veil"Footnote2, is a allusion to Saint Paul's line in Isiah 25:7, "For now we
see through a glass, darkly."Footnote3 Saint Paul's use of the veil in Isiah and
later in Second Corinthians is similar to Du Bois's use of the metaphor of the
veil. Both writers claim that as long as one is wrapped in the veil their
attempts to gain self-consciousness will fail because they will always see the
image of themselves reflect back to them by others. Du Bois applies this by
claiming that as long as on is behind the veil the, "world which yields him no
self-consciousness but who only lets him see himself through the revelation of
the other world."Footnote4 Saint Paul in Second Corinthians says the way to self
consciousness and an understanding lies in, "the veil being taken away, Now the
lord is the spirit and where the spirit of the lord is there is liberty." Du
Bois does not claim that transcending the veil will lead to a ...

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O God the reader vouch safe that this my book fall
not still born into the world-wilderness. Let there spring, Gentle one, from its
leaves vigor of thought and thoughtful deed to reap the harvest
wonderful."Footnote7 The invisibility of Black existence is a recurring theme
in other books about Black history. In Raboteau's book slave religion is called,
"the invisible institution of the antebellum South."Footnote8 Raboteau tries to
uncover and bring to light the religious practices of Black slaves, he tried to
bring their history out of the veil. Rabatoeu writes how religion for slaves was
a way in which, "slaves maintained their identity as persons despite a system
bent on reducing them ...

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Added: 9/26/2005 09:27:33 AM
Category: Book Reports
Type: Premium Paper
Words: 2957
Pages: 11

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