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Harlem Duet-Modern Play Essay

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Harlem Duet-Modern Play Essay
Despite of being declared free and living in a free society, many times characters remain restricted due to their own conflicting matters. This can be seen evidently in the play Harlem Duet through the main character, Billie. Despite all blacks being declared officially free from slavery by the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, Billie still feels ‘enslaved’ many times due to pressures of external factors, such as racism that still exists in society, and internal factors such as her inability to remain in control of a situation. There are many instances where a character is not in control of the situation and yet it affects them on a regular and frequent basis. These external factors, such as a racist society, can be seen affecting and challenging Billie’s identity in the play. Due to this factor, Billie feels like she is constantly looked down upon and automatically is considered inferior by the society just because she is black, but this doesn’t weaken Billie’s identity, but further strengthens it. The quote in Act1 Scene 4, “I don’t have that...that luxury. When I go into a store, I always know when I’m being watched. I can feel it. They want to see if I’m gonna slip some of their stuff into my pockets. When someone doesn’t serve me, I think it’s because I’m black. When a clerk won’t put the change into my held-out hand, I think it’s because I’m black,” clearly emphasizes the pressures Billie deals with on a regular basis yet she continues to be proud of who and what she is and acknowledges the fact that she is black. This is showed in Act 1 Scene 4 when she says, “We are Black. Whatever we do is Black.” This quote shows Billie’s clear and blunt acceptance of being a black person which shows her deep connection to her roots and she is definitely unafraid to do so in front of a person who wants to run away from his own race. In…...

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