Like the other important characters in Platitudes, Dewayne Wellington develops from a stereotype into a full-bodied person. Although the story he writes is not explicitly autobiographical, he uses it to resolve some of the tensions in his personal and creative lives. His early focus on sex and the power of women to hurt men reflects his own feelings of loneliness and betrayal after his divorce.
Unlike Dewayne, Isshee is confident of her ability as a writer and happy with her identity as a woman and an African American. She is a successful author of well-known works of black folk life and is frequently invited to lecture around the country. While she helps Dewayne to rise out of his depression with her challenging criticism of both his work and his view of women, she gains new insight from him and comes to an understanding that there is more than one way to write about African American romance.
Dewayne expresses his anxiety through his creation, Earle Tyner. As Dewayne grows in confidence and in understanding of Isshee’s black feminist perspective, Earle goes beyond his original role of a computer nerd interested in pornography. He gains confidence in himself while working in the voter registration drive that allows him finally to talk to women. In the end, he outgrows his boyish view of women as objects either of low sexual desire or of high romance and comes to see Dorothy as a loving but fallible human being, both a friend and a...
(The entire section is 497 words.)