Tuesday, March 5, 2013

But Where's Harlem? No seriously? Where is it?

(Note: The following blog post may contain sarcasm)

Lois Tyson asks, “But Where’s Harlem?” My answer is “Why? I thought this was going to be about African American criticism, not a place in New York that wasn’t mentioned. Unless you’re hinting at a stereotype, in which case, that would make you racist.” I can sympathize with Lois Tyson because it is true that The Great Gatsby is difficult to analyze through an Afroamerican lens. What Lois Tyson should not have done in this case, was fill her chapter full of fluff in order to make it occupy a certain number of pages. “He was a German spy during the war.” And that has everything to do with the lack of African Americans in The Great Gatsby. And then she goes on to talk about the style of the time, and then she states, “No doubt modern times have arrived.” Ok, sweet, this is still very flimsy and vague but I’ll keep reading because I feel like we may get to read about what we’re interested in soon. And then for the last five pages we see that Lois Tyson explains thoroughly that there are just completely no African American people or culture in The Great Gatsby. Nick was a Yale Graduate but he doesn’t know about Harlem? Well maybe he did. I know that if I myself were in the middle of an awkward relationship and trying to stop my friend from practically killing himself over a woman I would not be concerned about listing off the names of New York City’s various districts because it totally has relevance to my situation.

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