In this lesson, students reread and briefly analyze the epigraph to "Of Our Spiritual Strivings" from The Souls of Black Folk (from "O water, voice of my heart, crying in the sand" through "water all night long is crying to me"). The epigraph is "The Crying of Water," a poem by Arthur Symons that describes the experience of a speaker listening to the sea. Students identify and explore related or similar ideas and images in Symons’s poem and "Of Our Spiritual Strivings" in their analysis of how the poem contributes to the overall meaning and tone of the text.
After analyzing the poem, students revisit the text as a whole and work in groups to analyze how Du Bois uses figurative language or rhetoric to develop a central idea in the text. Student learning is assessed via the Mid-Unit Assessment Evidence Collection Tool at the end of the lesson. This work directly prepares students for the Mid-Unit Assessment in the following lesson, in which students write a multi-paragraph response analyzing how Du Bois uses rhetoric or figurative language to develop a central idea in "Of Our Spiritual Strivings."