In The Kitchen

Henry Louis Gates Jr. was born in 1950. He grew up in a small town in the

state of West Virginia. He gained degrees from Yale and Cambridge and is

currently chair of The Department of Afro-American Studies at Harvard. His

Scholary works include Loose Cannons: Notes on the Culture Wars. His books

include Colored People, Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Black Man and Wonders

of the African World. In his essay In the Kitchen, he uses his detailed personal

family experiences to help the reader gain insight into the cultural beliefs and

understandings of how Afro-Americans perceive themselves and their fellow

Afro-Americans. His writing style allows the reader to feel welcome and at ease

while his verbiage is kept at an easy level of understanding.

Gates begins the essay speaking of the kitchen in his house. He mentions

the gas stove and the role it played in everyday duties from cooking to the

functions of doing hair. This introduction to hair brings about the debut of the

second kitchen. The definition of the second kitchen, as Gates explains, "but the

word has another meaning, and the kitchen that I'm speaking of is the very kinky

bit of hair at the back of your head, where your neck meets your shirt collar, 

page 312, paragraph 5. This definition allows the reader to experience a little

cultural background from the Afro-American point of view and to better

understand exactly what Gates is attempting to provide to the reader. Gates uses

this, "kitchen,  terminology , along with detailed examples, to lead the reader to

feel and see the tribulations of being an Afro-American. These illustrations are

created with vivid explanations on how detailed the process is in straightening

hair and the importance "good  hair plays in the role of an Afro-American.

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