Writing Out Loud: Souls of Black Folk

In The Souls of Black Folk, W.E.B. Du Bois examines how it felt to live as a black man in the early twentieth century US. This concept of double-consciousnesscaptures how people experience racism at the interpersonal level. After reading the excerpt, answer the following questions.

Theme: Shifting the Paradigm


  1. Du Bois starts the chapter by recounting an experience from his childhood. What happened, and what point is DuBois trying to make with the story?
  2. What does Du Bois mean by “double-consciousness,” and how does this concept play out in his experiences?
  3. Think back to Simmel’s concept of the “stranger” and the dual qualities of nearness and farness that the stranger possesses. Do you see any similarities between Simmel’s “stranger” and DuBois’s notion of  “double-consciousness”? How do the concepts differ?
Back To Top