Describe the narrator and tone of Coleman's "Unfinished Masterpieces".

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epollock | (Level 3) Valedictorian

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The speaker speaks formally, with words such as “retrospective,” “limpid,” “disarray,” and “sobriquet,” to name just a few. The tone of the story is neither angry nor bitter, but regretful and, at the story’s end, hopeful. The speaker’s goal is clearly to elevate the potential of Dora Johns and William Williams and to assert that these two characters possessed innate abilities common to all human beings despite their race and their disadvantages or advantages. In no way does the speaker denigrate Dora and William as examples to demonstrate the validity of political rhetoric and political or even revolutionary proposals. Although a political cause is implicit in the story, the story itself emphasizes the humanity and dignity of the major characters. Therefore Coleman’s concluding emphasis is on “the widely opened door where white and black, rich and poor, of whatever caste or creed may enter and find comfort and ease and food and drink.”

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