Compare H.P. Lovecraft And W.E.B. Dubois Discussing Xenophobia (Essay Sample)
Okay, here's what you're going to do. You are going to write a compare/contrast essay on H.P. Lovecraft and W.E.B. DuBois discussing xenophobia, hidden bias, and social identity--terms found in Peter Winters' article "Why We Fear the Unknown." You want to use that graphic organizer to help you out.
Here are the texts we're using:
Lovecraft--"The Lurking Fear," "Facts Concerning the Late Arthur Jermyn and His Family," "The Shadow Over Innsmouth"
Winters--"Why We Fear the Unknown"
Consider a scratch outline for this. Your thesis is going to be a generic concept that will be similar among all you students, but your textual support should be different. Something like this:
Thesis: In the early 20th century, H.P. Lovecraft and W.E.B. DuBois had widely different perspectives on the psychological principles of racial fear in the United States.
Subject #1--Lovecraft's "Facts Concerning the Late Arthur Jermyn and His Family"
Point B--Hidden Bias
Point C--Social Identity
Subject #2--DuBois's "The Comet"
Point B--Hidden Bias
Point C--Social Identity
For each of those points, you would use specific textual support to define that particular author's perspective. So that's where your worksheet will come in handy. Easy peasy lemon squeezy.
You also want to reference the psychological article "Why We Fear the Unknown." For example, in your paper, you're going to want to define these terms. So there should be a part of your paper where you define "xenophobia," based on Winters' article. So, as you're exploring xenophobia in Lovecraft's and DuBois's fiction, you're also referring to xenophobia in Winters' article.
This compare/contrast is pretty clear. Lovecraft's racism is very evident, as is DuBois's progressive view of a more promising tomorrow. All you're really doing here is articulating their positions, based on their fiction, on these clear psychological principles of xenophobia, hidden bias, and race relations. What you need to do with DuBois is show how he challenges Lovecraft on these issues. For example, if Lovecraft is so against the idea of interracial marriage, how does DuBois challenge that? That's what you want to consider. In other words, it's probably easier for you to engage with Lovecraft first and then use DuBois to challenge him. That makes more logical sense.
Subject #1 Lovecraft's “Facts concerning the later Arthur Jermyn and His Family”
Most humans possess a somehow innate fear of unknown or foreign things and this is described as Xenophobia by Jeffrey Winters. Lovecraft shows this strongly in Facts concerning the late Arthur Jermyn and His family. He suggests that if science uncovered the truths it has hidden, this knowledge would be the end of us all indicating just how humans are terrified of truths their minds cannot accept. It was termed as madness by the rational humans of the 18th century to hear one talk of unusual scenes encountered in Congo let alone the ‘rave of the living creatures' that lived there. Xenophobia was publicly expressed without shame as we see most members of the Jermyn family were termed as mad. Sir Robert Jermyn strangled the explorer for the information he had shared with him and went ahead to kill his three children because he could not accept what the explorer shared. Most people who lived around the Jermyns treated the family with repulsion because of their peculiar physical looks and obsession with Congolese myths that was not acceptable by sane people.
Hidden bias is the lack of openly showing our fear of unknown or foreign things. Arthur Jermyn was more accepting of all his bloodline and his mother affording him a good education, he received honors from Oxford and was more intellectual than his ancestors. Yet when he burnt himself to death, no one buried him, neither did anything in his memory, confirming their hidden biases of this unusual human who had longer arms and different facial angle after striking a resemblance between him and the mummy. He was considered unworthy of burial and his existence denied further proving hidden biases. Wade would not allow anyone to see his family not even care for his dying wife and led people to think he preferred solitude, it's only later in the writing do we discover this was because she was an ape princess. This act of hiding her yet he spoke enthusiastically of the creatures in Congo shows his hidden bias to these apes.
Social identity is the tendency of people of a group of people or even individuals thinking highly of themselves because of race, wealth or religion. Social identity is evident in this story as the people of 18th century condemned to madness anyone of learning to mention the catacombs and a forgotten city in Congo yet what Wade talked of exist
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