Sunday, September 14, 2014

TOW #2 - "The Ethics of Living Jim Crow: An Autobiographical Sketch" (Written)
1937 was a year full of hatred, racism, and segregation. Richard Wright, the author, has seen and experienced it all. With the untouchable green trees, grass, and hedges to African-Americans, there was a distinct line between the blacks and the whites. Wright's essay consists of personal anecdotes, each one recounting the experience of learning lessons on Jim Crow laws: the hierarchy that puts whites superior to blacks. With the use of the first person point of view, the narrator is Wright. The use of this point of view makes the content seem more "real". Immediately, the author utilizes ethos and pathos with his personal anecdotes. Wright is credible, because he has experienced the unequal Jim Crow laws (ethos), and evokes emotion to today's readers who can only imagine the unjust treatment of African-Americans back in the early 1900's.

Stressing the mindset that color classified someone, Wright writes, "there were black churches and black preachers, there were black schools and black teachers; black groceries and black clerks" (Oates 161). The use of repetition is not only seen with the use of the words "white" and "black" but seen with the ideas of learning "my Jim Crow lessons" (Oates 166) and receiving "my Jim Crow education" (Oates 168). The repetitive idea of learning the Jim Crow laws and the Jim Crow education shows how crucial it was, in the time period, to understand one's place in society. The way Wright writes about his Jim Crow education such as understanding it "thoroughly" and broadening and deepening his education sounds as if it were a feat. Repetition is also seen when Wright describes the trees, lawns, and hedges as green. This recurring idea symbolizes how equality seemed untouchable and impossible at the time. Wright's purpose is to inform the reader and offer a different perspective about the inhumane Jim Crow laws. Showing a glimpse of his own experiences, he brings forth emotion from the reader and a perspective about racism and segregation that can be understood only by a select few. He accomplishes his purpose through the use of vivid imagery, repetition, and personal anecdotes.

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