In Walter Mosley's work, what is Easy's view of the meaning of freedom? 

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jameadows eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Easy Rawlins, the protagonist of Walter Mosley's mystery series, defines freedom in part as the opportunity to do what he wants in a post-war world in which African-Americans do not have the same opportunities as whites. When his novel Devil in a Blue Dress, opens, it is 1948 Los Angeles. As Easy says, "I had spent five years with white men, and women, from Africa to Italy, through Paris, and into the Fatherland itself" (page 9). Despite serving his country in World War II and seeing a great deal of action, he is unemployed, having been let go from his job at Champion Aircraft because of racism. He is also trying to earn his college degree at night school.

In Mosley's novel Little Scarlet, Watts, a section of Los Angeles, has just been destroyed by rioting in 1965. As Easy sees National Guardsmen gathering in the neighborhood, his "hands clenched into fists so tight that my right forearm went into a spasm" (page 4). In this scene, he is devastated by the riots that brought ruin to a traditionally African-American neighborhood and that were quashed by National Guardsmen. He wants the freedom and liberty that white people enjoy in other neighborhoods and the freedom of movement and opportunity that they also enjoy. 

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