Africville by Maxine Tynes Essay
Africville by Maxine Tynes
Examples of personification include “We are Africville” and “I am Africville”. This is personification because they cannot really be “Africville”; this is because Africville is not a person, or an adjective usually appropriate to be paired with humans. However in this case the author does it quite well. For example comparing “I am tired” to “I am Africville” one can quickly tell that this is a personification on Africville, in the sense of making Africville an adjective describing who they/she are/is respectively. To be Africville, in this case would be someone conveying their sense of pride and attachment to their beloved former town, to carry with them the unforgettable, unforgivable past that was eviction of their town.
An example of a metaphor would be:
“No house is Africville. No road, no tree, no well. Africville is man/women/child in the street and heart of Black Halifax, the Prestons, Toronto.” No house, no tree, or no well can be Africville because there are these things everywhere. The trees aren’t what makes Africville special, it is the people in it and their stories and history. The section goes further to explain how even post-dispossession the people of Africville are still together in black Halifax and Toronto. This implies that this town was so unified that even widespread eviction cannot break their bonds. However, the concrete metaphor in this passage is “Africville is man/women/child” because this is an unlike comparison without using like or as.
These literary devices (personification and metaphor) create a pseudo-atmosphere where readers cannot take anything literally. However, I overlooked the pseudo-atmosphere because of the great depth it adds to the poem. The recurring personifications and metaphors also show point of view quite easily, as seen here: “We are Africville” and “I am Africville”. This is clearly stating who the speaker is. In an addition to the atmosphere and point of view the literary devices show, they also sharpen the overall message of the poem which I believe to be that the people of Africville are literally detached from each other’s lives they all share the same story and are therefore still connected.
I think that Africville was a town in which Maxine Tynes (the author) was born in, during the year of 1949. It was settled by Black Loyalists and was in Nova Scotia, Canada. It was a very connected town, as seen here: “so black with community” “with life” “with pride” “with memories”. However, everyone in this town was evicted, as seen here: “we are the dispossessed Black of the Land” “creeping with pain away from our home”.