W.E.B. Dubois' Largely Autobiographical Exploration Essay

Total Length: 622 words ( 2 double-spaced pages)

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The dual perspective of the Veil can also be seen in James Baldwin's "This Morning, This Evening, So Soon," though hope is something more of a stranger in this story. The protagonist's fear of returning to the United States with his white wife and mixed-race son from his now-home in France, where these things don't matter, is directly representative of the type of perspective implied by DuBois' use of the Veil metaphor. Even in France, the narrator/protagonist is seen with a similar dilemma, though based on his nationality rather than his skin color, when he reflects that his Tunisian companion thinks of him as simply an American. Though this may or may not be an accurate assessment of the companion, it is a reflection of the burden of the Veil that this character carries; even his life in France cannot remain untainted by the duality of simply his own racial existence, let alone the more complex racial issue that is family presents in American society, leaving little room for hope.

Beloved, Toni Morrison's acclaimed novel, is at once darker and more optimistic than Baldwin's short story.
Dualities abound throughout the book, including in the ways that the character's perceive themselves. Sethe and her family are ostracized in their community not because of skin color, but because of Sethe's behaviors when they were found, and much of the action of the novel revolves around the attempts to deal with the split perspectives this leads to. Sethe is pulled in two directions by Beloved and the needs of her family -- the memories of slavery and the need to progress. The Veil can be seen at work in preventing Sethe from seeing how to move forward, or the necessity of doing so, though the promise of future generations always brings hope with it......

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