Thomas Wolfe

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What is the point-of-view in Thomas Wolfe's short story "The Child by Tiger"?

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The point of view in this short story by Thomas Wolfe is first person singular. The character who tells the story, Spangler, is told exclusively from his experiences, recounting events that happened some twenty-five years prior, in the late nineteenth century. We only know how events occurred and what was said through Spangler. The way that you know it is first person is that he refers to himself as "I." Spangler is telling the story of Dick Prosser. Spangler is white; Prosser was a negro servant of the Shepperton family. As a child, Spangler and the other boys greatly admire Prosser. He is interesting and engaging. He treats the boys with respect.

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The point-of-view in Wolfe's short story "The Child By Tiger," is first person singular. The character who tells the story, Spangler, is told exclusively from his experiences, recounting events that happened some twenty-five years prior, in the late nineteenth century.  We only know how events occurred and what was said through Spangler. The way that you know it is first person is that he refers to himself as "I."

Spangler is telling the story of Dick Prosser. Spangler is white; Prosser was a negro servant of the Shepperton family. As a child, Spangler and the other boys greatly admire Prosser. He is interesting and engaging. He treats the boys with respect. Spangler remembers that, “One of his chief attributes is the respect and humility of the southern darky- he calls even the boys ‘mister.’" However, unbeknownst to the boys, Prosser harbors a dark side, probably due to the years of racism and discrimination he has endured.

Prosser snaps one day and goes on a killing spree. He takes the lives of several police officers and other Negroes. The reaction of the white populace is swift and brutal. They shoot Spangler some three hundred times, then hang his mutilated body in the mortuary window.

Understandably, this horrific event marks the young Spangler for life. No longer is his world safe. He has recognized the capacity of human beings for both good and evil. He understands that their is an interior life that may remain hidden but can become deadly. Man exists in "two worlds together-- the child and the tiger."

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