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Michael Jackson lyrics and African American literature

1) In considering some of the themes broached by Jackson, I am looking at how his treatment of these themes compares to that of any or all of the following with regard to the themes, concerns, issues they discuss in their novels: Frederick Douglass, "Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass: An American Slave"; James Weldon Johnson, "The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man"; Zora Neale Hurston, "Their Eyes Were Watching God"; Octavia Butler, "Kindred"; Sister Souljah, "No Disrespect".

2) I am trying to see if there is one of the authors in particular, whose themes are the closest to Jackson's with regard to certain issues (i.e., common patterns, ideas both have that relate to notions about African American literature).

3) I am looking for significant parallels between Jackson's treatment of the themes in his lyrics of these three songs to those of the authors of the above novels.

4) I am looking for significant differences between Jackson's treatment of the themes in his lyrics of these three songs to those of the authors of the above novels.

Solution Preview

1-3). First off, as you compare themes, parallels, and patterns among the texts, I feel that Jackson's "Man in the Mirror" relates well to Hurston's Their Eyes Are Watching God. Since Janie, like Jackson's speaker, also looks in the "mirror" both literally and metaphorically to determine how she wants her life to be lived in terms of feminist, racial, social, economic, and emotional rights, I see those similarities. Both texts advocate change as Janie does and as Jackson's lyrics in this song resonate as he pledges, " I'm Gonne Make A Change, For Once In My Life/It's Gonna Feel Real Good, Gonna Make A Difference Gonna Make It Right . . ." Janie, like Jackson's speaker, also wants to make a difference in her own life instead of being governed by whites and men, so I see this sense of self autonomy permeate both. Do you agree?

I also think that Jackson's "We Are the World" proclamation, "We are all a part of God's great big family
And the truth, you know love is all we need," truly reflects Hurston's message in her novel.

Since "Man in the Mirror," too, deals with issues of socioeconomic injustices and seeking equity, I also see how Eatonville and the other settings in Hurston's novel expose the harsh realities that African Americans were denied financial equity and security based on race. When Jackson reacts to the poverty in his song, "I See The Kids In The Street, With Not Enough To Eat/Who Am I, To Be Blind?
Pretending Not To See Their Needs," it also reflect the rich/poor divide that plagued Janie for a large part of the text.

Similarly, I feel like the whole theme of "We Are the ...

Solution Summary

Michael Jackson lyrics and African American literary selections are briefly correlated.

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