Themes and Meanings (Masterplots II: African American Literature, Revised Edition)
Ceremonies in Dark Old Men portrays the disintegration of a family after the death of the mother. Parker is a decent man. His stories of a happy marriage with Doris are believable. His memories of his vaudeville successes are perhaps less believable but still plausible. The family’s story seems to be an old one, of a strong mother who keeps the family together when the father feels defeated by a racist society. After Doris’s death, Adele believes that it is her inherited role to take care of the men. They let her do it. Parker sees his shop as a haven from the streets outside, where he knows he will meet with failure. In the comfortable ceremonies of their checkers games, Jenkins and he enjoy the solace of friendship in a difficult world.
For Blue Haven, life on the streets has been an ordeal that he has faced the only way he knows how, even to the extent of killing a man over a woman. Whatever sort of villain Blue Haven may appear to be to the world beyond his streets, he lives by his lights. He has a son by the woman who is his companion, and with this woman he has a sex life that at least temporarily obscures for both of them the misery of their cramped existence. When she begs Blue to marry her, he breaks out in a sweat, realizing what threats are entailed in a life of responsibility and entanglement. He nevertheless agrees: “But I have been kind! I have kissed babies for the simple reason they were babies! I’m going to get married to...
(The entire section is 523 words.)
Want to Read More?
Subscribe now to read the rest of Ceremonies in Dark Old Men Themes. Plus get complete access to 30,000+ study guides!