The stories that frame this volume ("A Party down at the Square" and "Flying Home") develop the theme of the individual person's separation from his society. The young white narrator of the first story is initially fascinated by the social ritual of the lynching, but he sees its destructive effects: a plane crash, the electrocution of a bystander, a fire that destroys much of the town, and a second lynching. Although he does not articulate his disenchantment as the white sharecropper does, his physical and emotional reactions indicate that he no longer shares the attitudes of his neighbors. Todd ("Flying Home") has refused to accept the limitations imposed upon him by both Caucasians and African-Americans, becoming a Tuskeegee airman. His accomplishments have made him feel superior to black men like Jefferson but have not earned him acceptance from the army, much less from men like Dabney Graves. For Todd, however, there is reconciliation, when he finally realizes that Jefferson is attempting to console and nurture him, not to ridicule him. Once he places his trust in Jefferson and Teddy, instead of the white pilot and ambulance attendants, he sees the buzzard— or, jimcrow—transformed into a golden bird.
The theme of the outsider appears in a slightly different context in "A Hard Time Keeping Up." Here Al, the narrator, and his friend Joe totally misinterpret the action at Tom's bar and restaurant, where a patron named Charlie is flirting with a...
(The entire section is 680 words.)
Want to Read More?
Subscribe now to read the rest of Flying Home and Other Stories Themes. Plus get complete access to 30,000+ study guides!