AP Literature & Composition
Poetry Essay 1st Draft
December 3, 2012
The theme of William Shakespeare sonnet # 18 “Shall I Compare Thee to a summer’s day” is eternal love. Shakespeare compares his lover to summer, the most beautiful season of the year. However summer beauty cannot exist all year long but his love for her and her beauty will always exist. The theme of Claude McKay sonnet “The Harlem Dancer” is that being a prostitute and stripper doesn’t mean you have to act like one, it don’t determine your enter self. In “The Harlem Dancer” poet Claude McKay uses imagery, diction, and metaphor to more effectively to express theme 2.
McKay used imagery in his sonnet so that the audience can paint a picture of the prostitute dancing around on the pole for the men and women while trying not to express that she was not comfortable doing that. “Her voice was like the sound of blended flutes blown by black players upon a picnic day” (stanza 2). She sounded if she liked the attention from the crowd of people but it seems that she was avoided by the situation. For example, “To me she seem a proudly –swaying palm, growing lovelier for passing through a storm” (stanza 2). From the looks of it the prostitute wasn’t a shamed of what she was doing but she felt if she was a lovelier in a small crude shelter and a storm was passing by to destroy it and end all her problems so she can be able to show the real her. For instance, “Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May” (stanza 3). Shakespeare is trying to say that the rough wind has turned into a beautiful season which is summer and summer is as lovely as his beautiful lady. Even though both poems used imagery McKay used the poetic device more effectively to express the theme of Harlem Dancer.
McKay and Shakespeare also used diction which is word choices to illustrate the theme of their poems. McKay says “Her voice was like the sound of blended flutes” (stanza 2). Her voice was kind of sounding...