- Published: January 26, 2022
- Updated: January 26, 2022
- University / College: University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
- Level: College
- Language: English
- Downloads: 24
African-American Literature Trumpet is one of the books that portray good features of black literature. Based on a story about Joss Moody, who is a famous trumpet player; the book talks about the big news that surrounds his death and identity. We realize that Joss had a secret, though, one that not even his son, Colman was aware of. He was actually born female; Josephine Moore but lived as a male Joss Moody. The Moody family lived a normal life with a normal family and house. But when the he eventually dies and the truth cannot hide no longer, Colman’s astonishment spills into anger, and he pursues revenge. The book unfolds various African literature characteristics that are similar to American literature that we are going to discuss.
There is the loss of someone precious in the text, a feature realized in black literature. Joss; the hero is presented as iconoclast, to some he can be a social rebel, and an antagonist of convention. She was born a woman and chose to live her life as a man. Some of us are not accepting of queer and trans-gender individuals, but I personally felt there was little critique of that. We had to accept things as they are. We had to accept Joss for the way he presented himself. He presented himself to the world as a man, not to complicate his identity, or for personal gains, but because, according to him, living life as a man is his identity. Actually, he was a famous jazz trumpeter who creates scandal surrounding his death and preoccupies everyone to his secret life.
Music a common feature in both black and American literature is the ultimate passion of Joss Moody. It has the special power of making lose his sex, memory, and his race (Smitherman 131). He covers himself with his trumpet (135). He contributes a lot to the world of music and these contributions cannot be denied, regardless of the sex he reveals himself with. Furthermore, Kay attempted to write the text to be significant of a musical composition.
There is also the principle of strong matriarch and weak male that counter attacks the strong female role in the novel. Millie seemed consumed and bland by her husband’s death, which though understandable, makes it difficult to connect with her as well, since she did not seem to express her feelings. She was of aware of her ‘ husbands’ sex and kept it from their adopted son Colman who was infuriating. The novel has used the pronoun he for someone who should be referred to as a she. The secret of Joss identity might also be linked to his success in music, and as Millie puts it; it was there secret, it did not harm anybody (10).
The text has reference to color, race, and ethnicity. Colman Moody is of mixed race. This makes him feel the pressure to live up to the family standards. The latter left to him by Joss helps him realize that what is important is who you know yourself to be and not what you are. Lastly, the novel has a poetic feel. The text is a complex interplay of dissonant attitudes. It does not laugh at the trouble created but gazes steadily at the pain created while also perceiving its comic aspect.
African literature, therefore, has various feature that are also realized in American literature, beginning from the writing style, or the style of expression, the recurrent characters, poetic feel and the characterizations.
Cornelius, Mirica Mayo. What are the caracteristics of african american literature? 19 November 2011. Web. 23 April 2012 .
Smitherman, G. The blacker the berry, the sweeter the juice: African American student writers. Ed. A. H. Dyson and C. Genishi. Urbana: National Council of Teachers of English, 1994.
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