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The Sport of the Gods

Paul Laurence Dunbar

Book Overview: 

The Sport of the Gods is a novel by Paul Laurence Dunbar, centered around urban black life.
Forced to leave the South, a family falls apart amid the harsh realities of Northern inner city life in this 1902 examination of the forces that extinguish the dreams of African Americans.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .Minty, when she met huh on de street. I reckon she come down off'n huh high hoss now."

The fact of the matter was that Minty Brown was no better than she should have been, and did not deserve to be spoken to. But none of this was taken into account either by the speaker or the hearers. The man was down, it was time to strike.

The women too joined their shrill voices to the general cry, and were loud in their abuse of the Hamiltons and in disparagement of their high-toned airs.

"I knowed it, I knowed it," mumbled one old crone, rolling her bleared and jealous eyes with glee. "W'enevah you see niggahs gittin' so high dat dey own folks ain' good enough fu' 'em, look out."

"W'y, la, Aunt Chloe I knowed it too. Dem people got so owdacious proud dat dey would n't walk up to de collection table no mo' at chu'ch, but allus set an' waited twell de basket was passed erroun'."

"Hit 's de livin' trufe, an' I 's been seein' it all 'long. I. . . Read More

Community Reviews

All I can gather from this book is that the sport of the gods is suffering... Human Suffering. Barry Hamilton is an emancipated black man working as a butler for a wealthy white family in the south. He lives his life with a pious dignity believing that the future has arrived and he, and his family,

Misery in History

This was my first experience reading Dunbar. It certainly won’t be my last. This tragedy novel is a sad read because it likely mirrors the experience of so many other African Americans who experienced bigotry and intolerance after emancipation. The story read like Dunbar was writing

Classics are hit and miss for me. I see the importance of this book, but didn't enjoy the reading experience.

A Pioneering Novel By A Great African American Poet

Paul Laurence Dunbar (1872 -- 1906)is best remembered as a poet. He wrote in both dialect and formal English. His famous poems include "We wear the mask", "Sympathy", which includes the line "I know why the caged bird sings", and "Frederick Douglass

My feelings on this book are confused. Is this a 2 star book, a 4 star book, or a 5 star book? I really have no idea. I settled on 3 star because I thought it was closest to neutral.

First, in terms of writing skill--5 stars for sure. Wonderfully well written. It's a short book, but there is a lot p

“Ignorance, allied with power, is the most ferocious enemy justice can have.”

I take the quote from the great modern activist James Baldwin. Although this is an activist novel of sorts, there are no quotable passages that pertain to its real significance as a testament to the post-abolition treatment

Lies, secrets, injustice, madness, sadness, gladness, and finally the will to just continue on is the story of Fannie and Berry Hamilton. The couple survived slavery and emancipation to settle for what they thought was a good master and life. To their dismay, they find out differently. In the end fo

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