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One of the most popular of Dunbar’s dialect poems was and is "When Malindy Sings," which builds upon the natural ability of the race in song and is ackowledged to be Dunbar’s tribute to his mother’s spontaneous outbursts of singing as she worked in the kitchen. The message of the poem is one of praise for simpilicity of spirit and the love of God, but the reader is jolted into a humorous view of the situation as he comes to stanze six. Dunbar’s ability to check excessive sentiment is well demonstarted in this poem.


From Paul Laurence Dunbar. Boston: Twayne Publishers, 1979. Copyright © 1979 by G.K. Hall & Co.