The Autobiography of an Ex-Coloured Man Questions and Answers
by James Weldon Johnson

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Consider the ending of the book The Autobiography of an Ex-Coloured Man and provide an analysis of the last paragraph. How does the narrator represent himself at the end of the novel? How does he view African Americans? How does the ending reflect upon issues of race in America? What is your critique of this novel as a work of art?

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James Weldon Johnson’s The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man (published anonymously in 1912, then under his name in 1927) features a passing biracial man, who, upon learning of the false promises of passing for white, is faced with the literal and metaphoric “dead end” of his racial position. In the end, the narrator decides he will live not as a white man, black man, or both, but ambivalently ex-colored.

Narratives of racial passing in early-twentieth century America reveal the complicated and often...

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