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who is the protagonist and antagonist in big black good man,can you give example of...

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fatini | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted March 12, 2010 at 11:04 PM via web

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who is the protagonist and antagonist in big black good man,

can you give example of quote in the story

 

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gowrirajendran | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) Honors

Posted November 3, 2011 at 2:31 AM (Answer #1)

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The characters of Olaf and Lena responded very differently to the same man, a black man, a big, black man. Olaf, an average man with an average life has an average job that he sees as respectable and he believes his life is good. However, when he saw Jim for the first time, his life turned upside-down. His own inner fears overcome him. I believe these fears took him much by surprise because he states he has serviced other blacks before. His own insecurities gripped himself. With each passing day, the fears and hatred became more obvious in his thoughts.

Lena apparently was poor and prostituted herself in order to care for her four children. If she was insecure in herself, no one knows it. However, the reader does see the confident she has to subdue her potential customer. Even at the urging of Olaf, Lena thought of Jim as just another man with manly needs. "He's just a man. . . I handle 'im." She returned each night at Jim's request, indicating she had no fear of him or the money was good. If she had any internal conflict, it must have been different from Olaf's conflict.

Jim did not fit Olaf's preconceived idea of what of how a black man should be or look. In his eyes Jim was "too big, too black, too loud, and probably too violent. . ." He did not see Jim as a man. His descriptions and references of him were dehumanizing. He never referred to him by his name or used it.

During the year, that past between Jim's visits, Olaf's hatred and fantasies grew while Lena's love or respect grew. Lena stopped prostituting and maintained contact with Jim. Therefore, there must have been some kind of romantic connection for her to sacrifice and give up her source of income. She must have known Jim was a good man. Our story concludes with Olaf realizing Jim was a big black good man all along and his biggest problem was himself.

Olaf reminds me of the person who says he is not a racist but in the same breath forbids his daughter to date a person of a different race. The most dangerous aspects of racism are the unspoken subtleties. I call it the hidden racist. The problem is we unknowing participate in it and we are blinded to our own unconscious fear and misunderstandings. One way of combating racism is identifying it and seeking more understanding of others.

The author, Richard Wright, did a good job giving us a snapshot of the average racist. I enjoyed how he attempts to expose some of the hidden fears of the average person. His language does a great job capturing the visual descriptions and setting. His insight is right on target. I image this was very controversial for the time that it was written. This was a refreshing read. This is a story I would recommend others to read. (just skim this ans t mght b helpful)

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