Last Updated on May 11, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 182
White Rat’s narration contains African American speech patterns and exposes his faults and shortcomings. Like all unreliable narrators, he reveals more to the reader than he is aware of, and like Gayl Jones’s other narrators, he appears to be mentally and emotionally unstable. He feels superior to the branch of his family that comes from the hills, but he is as superstitious as he claims that they are. Corrected when he uses “pronounced” instead of “renounced,” he then just uses “’nounced” because he does not like being corrected or because “renounced” is not in his vocabulary. It appears that he suffers from the “complex” that Maggie fears Henry would experience. Driven to rationalize his behavior, albeit in an altered story, to a white audience, he almost comes to terms with his own behavior, but he lacks the insight to empathize with Maggie, who claims that he “treats her like dirt,” or to understand that his actions drove her to leave him. Like Maggie, who seems imprisoned in her exploited situation, White Rat is in his own cage, incapable of change.