Short Summary of "A Brown Girl Dead" by Countee Cullen

The cry of a black girl is depicted in the poem “A brown girl dead” and the poem is full of rival racism tone. The poem starts with a sad death scene where the girl is seen dead. Her dead body is covered with two white roses on her breasts and white candles at the head and feet.

The poetess highly used capitalization and alliteration in the poem and the word white has been stressed in the poem because the poetess wants to stress up on the fact that how differently the black people were treated from the white people.

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The poetess has personified death and has used the term dark Madonna for the dead black girl. The black girl dreamt of getting married but death came to her before she could see herself dressed as a bride.

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In the second stanza of the poem, the poet stresses on the fact that her mother’s wish was to see her daughter dressed as a bride and her mother also has the engagement ring for her daughter. The poetess says “Her mother pawned her wedding ring, to lay her out in white, she’d be so proud; she’d dance and sing, to see herself tonight”.

The poet stress on the fact that if the brown girl had been alive, she would be proud to see her dressed as a bride because it is every girl’s dream to see herself dressed as a beautiful bride. But this wish of the black girl was not fulfilled.

This is the irony of the situation. Just like other racist poems, “A brown dead girl” also depicts the pain of the black people; the pain they had to face without any reason. They were discriminated from the white people just on the basis of the fact that their skin tone was different. The motive of Cullen to write the poem was to stress on the fact that the white people should understand the fact that the black people are also human beings and they should be treated equally.


The poetess wants the whole world to hear the cry of the black people and to make them understand the fact that the blacks are suppressed and exploited simply for no fault. The girl would have been proud if she was still alive among the black. All the black people need is the due respect and honor in the society and it is their birthright.

The cry of the black people depicts how heartless white people can be, as a matter of fact, how heartless human beings created by the Almighty can be. It is impossible to believe that the people created by God itself can be so ruthless and treat other human beings as animals. Today the situation has changed and black people have gained due respect in the society.


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