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How does the setting define the tone in the novel Brothers and Keepers?

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spelman4

Posted October 8, 2008 at 6:59 AM via web

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How does the setting define the tone in the novel Brothers and Keepers?

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted January 10, 2012 at 2:58 PM (Answer #1)

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It is clear that this account presents a rather bleak picture of the United States in terms of race relations, and this depressing tone is achieved in part through the setting. Let us remember that the novel opens in the "white" world of Laramie, Wyoming, which is made even more "white" by the fact that it is a snowy winter, which immediately draws the issues of the colour of our skin to the fore. Colour is something that cannot be ignored, and the importance that is given to it is reinforced as the novel continues.

In particular, this can be seen by the way in which Wideman and his brother Rob are shown to have taken very different paths, though both have, in their own way, responded to the American Dream in terms of trying to define themselves and gain success. The narrator has done this through the pursuit of white-endorsed notions of success through gaining a career and family. Rob, however, has tried to achieve this through illegal means that challenge racism. The settings that are given to both of these options point out the realities and inconsistencies of race relations in America whilst at the same time contributing greatly towards the bleak and pessimistic tone of the work.

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