This article portrays the themes of Black Woman by Leopold Senghorn Sedar

Themes of the Black woman by Leopold Senghor

The themes in the Balck woman by Leopold Senghor are the theme of The Celebration of Black skin and the theme of Negritude.

Theme of The Celebration of Black skin

Leopold Sedar Senghor in his poem titled “Balck Woman” associates beauty with black skin, a black woman and in extension; African women. The theme of celebration of the black skin runs throughout the poem, right from the very title of the poem “Black Woman”. Over the years, beauty has been associated with white or fair skin and flowing hair, courtesy of the Western world. However, Senghor in his poem, debunks the idea, depicting the black woman as the epitome of true beauty.

The celebration of black skin as illustrated in Senghor’s ‘Black woman isn’t just restricted to the idea of a beautiful black woman, but in a broader sense to the black skin race. Black skin has been viewed as a sign of inferiority, primitivism and barbarism, as in the expression ‘black monkey’. Therefore in a successful attempt to discord this claim, Senghor’s poem is an ode to African beauty, a praise song to the black skin that reflects the sun, gold and natural surroundings. Words like ‘dark woman’, and ‘black woman’ are used to show emphasis the beauty of the black skin. Also, the comparison to ‘ripe fruit’ and oil emphasises the beautiful features of the ‘black woman’.

Themes of Black Woman by Leopold Senghor

Theme of Negritude

Negritude refers to the literary movement that began in the late 1930s and 40s that saw the coming together of the African and Caribbean writers living in Paris. The movement was initially a move to combat the French colonial rule and the policy of assimilation. The movement is built around the rejection of European colonisation and the appreciation of African cultural heritage, as well as the embracement of ‘blackness’, upholding pride against the western- generated stereotypes.

Leopold Senghor is prominent for his involvement in creating notable consciousness through his negritude works. His work like ‘Black woman’ has the theme of negritude running throughout the poem. It could be said that the main theme of ”Black Woman” is Negritude. This is because the poem is a praise of the beauty of Africa and the black skin.

The poet depicts the African woman as beautiful in contrast to the western view. We see the poet upholding the pride of the black woman as she is described in comparison to the sun, ‘blackline’, ‘firm-fleshed’, ‘ripe fruit’, ‘limped in paradise’, ‘gold’, etc. The continent of Africa is personified as an African woman, depicting true beauty as being a natural beauty.

The African woman is a symbol of the continent of Africa itself sbd throughout this poem, Senghor denotes the African woman as everything beautiful and graceful. The poet also portrays the African woman as a mother with a tender touch, nurturing him to adulthood. The poem revolves around the core value of the negritude movement which is rejecting Western views abd embracing ‘Africanness’, and ‘Blackness’, in extension clamouring for black consciousness (awareness).

We’ve looked at the themes in Black Woman by Senghor, now we will give answers to some questions regarding ” Black Woman”.

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Black Woman Poem by Leopold Senghor

Comprehensive Analysis of Black Woman by Leopold Senghor

What are the themes of Negritude poetry?

Negritude poems have their core values centred on the criticism of Western civilisation and colonisation and the stereotypical view of European culture as superior and African culture as inferior. Negritude poetry sought to exalt and appreciate African culture, expressing nostalgia for the unadulterated and raw cultural heritage of Africa.

What are the concerns of the poem “Black Woman”?

Leopold Sedar Senghor’s ” Black woman” treats the view of black skin as the epitome of beauty and in extension, the beauty of the African continent.

What does the ‘black woman’ in the poem symbolize?

The black woman is a symbolic representation of the continent of Africa.

What are the poetic devices used in the black woman?

Poetic devices refer to the literary devices such as figurative languages, tone, structure and style, employed in a poem. The poetic devices in “Black Woman” include metaphor, allusion, simile, repetition, alliteration and symbolism.

What are the major themes in Black Women?

The major themes in the black women incudes: The celebration of Black skin and the Theme of Negritude.


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