The Autobiography of W. E. B. Du Bois Essay - Masterplots II: Juvenile & Young Adult Biography Series The Autobiography of W. E. B. Du Bois Analysis

W. E. B. Du Bois

Critical Edition of Young Adult Fiction The Autobiography of W. E. B. Du Bois Analysis

Du Bois’ purpose in writing this book was not simply to recount the experiences of his life for the entertainment of his readers, but to trace the development of his thoughts, to expose the continuing injustices and inequities of the world’s social and economic systems, and to promote his long-examined solutions for their cure. As such, the autobiography is a compelling examination of twentieth century American and world history.

The propagandistic impulse has two expressions. The first, as stated in the interlude, is the promotion of communism. Du Bois in no way cushions or veils his sympathies: He is explicitly pro-Soviet, writing in the late 1950’s at the height of the Cold War between the Western capitalistic and Eastern socialistic blocs. While the transformation of the Soviet Union and its satellites in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s rendered much of Du Bois’ ideology irrelevant if not obsolete, his impassioned discussions of the contrasting political systems are nevertheless provocative and compelling. Instead of merely indicting the capitalistic system and praising the socialistic, Du Bois examines the irrational and hypocritical methods and arguments employed by the United States government and the American people in the promotion of Cold War ideology. This approach is especially relevant to Du Bois’ peace work and the pacifist movement at large, which often sought to avoid partisan politics. While Du Bois’ views are at times a cause for skepticism—as in his utopian descriptions of Eastern European peasant life—he generally manages to argue his beliefs well and to base them in...

(The entire section is 664 words.)