Racism is not only a crime against humanity, but a daily burden that weighs down many shoulders. Racism has haunted America ever since the founding of the United States, and has eerily followed us to this very day. As an intimidating looking black man living in a country composed of mostly white people, Brent Staples is a classic victim of prejudice. The typical effect of racism on an African American man such as Staples, is a growing feeling of alienation and inferiority; the typical effect of racism on a white person is fear and a feeling of superiority. While Brent Staples could be seen as a victim of prejudice because of the discrimination he suffers, he claims that the victim and the perpetrator are both harmed in the vicious cycle that is racism. Staples employs his reader to recognize the value of his thesis through his stylistic use of anecdotes, repetition and the contrast of his characterization. Staples’ claim is made clear through the series of chronological anecdotes that make up his essay. The snippets of his life range from a short story about crossing a street at night in Chicago to being mistaken for a burglar while rushing into his office to turn in a deadline story - all because of the color of his skin. The anecdotes in his essay are meant to show the reader what to believe instead of merely telling them. Staples has a clear reason for writing and has strong beliefs about racism, however the stylistic devices he uses are meant to guide the reader into developing their own opinion on racism, which Staples in turn knows will persuade. Instead of stating his biased opinion from the start, he invites the reader in through his stories, even though the images themselves are hard to stomach. Staples wisely avoids a... ... middle of paper ... ...use in us.”, to choppier and abrupt sentences such as “It was useless to try to do anything.” and “The struggle was over.” The transition to shorter, breathless, syntax when the moth is about to die mimics death itself: breathless and abrupt. The transitional structure of Woolfs piece allows her reader to experience the journey of finding the meaning of life with her, instead of merely explaining a realization she had one day while watching a moth die. The relationship between life and death is explored in Woolf’s piece, “The Death of a Moth.” Woolf’s own epiphany is presented in her piece; she invites her reader, through her stylistic devices, to experience the way in which she realized what the meaning of life and death meant to her. Woolf’s techniques allow her audience to further their own understanding of death and encourages them consider their own existence.
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Fear is an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or to intimidate. For Staples fear is the constant emotion rattling in his head every time he simply passes by someone. “Just Walk on By” — by Brent Staples, discusses the on going problem of being considered a possible threat to those around him. Although Staples arouses fear everywhere he steps foot, Mr. Staples also is fearful himself because of the reaction he causes due to his ethnic inheritance. He lives in a world where any black man or person of color is perceived as a imitate danger. Staples has a reason to be fearful as he is in a never ending nightmare filled with hate. The sense of fear he experiences
In “Black Men in Public Spaces” the author talks about multiply situation where he was treated different for being an African American. Staples said,” I entered a jewelry store on the city’s affluent near North side. The proprietor excused herself and returned with an enormous red Doberman pinscher straining at the end of a leash” (161.) Then there is “Right Place, Wrong Face, which is focused on and African American man that is wrongly accused of a crime because of his race. White said, “I was searched, stripped of my backpack, put on my knees, handcuffed, and told to be quieted when I tried to ask questions” (229.) The two articles have many similarities. Both articles have two educated African America men who get treated different because of their race. Staples and White both have situations where they are being stereotyped by society because there black
In the two essays, “Just Walk on By: A Black Man Ponders His Power to Alter Public Space” by Brent Staples and “I’m Not Racist But…” by Neil Bissoondath, there are both differences and similarities. The two authors differ in their opinion on the causes of racism and life experiences involving racism, but are similar in regards to the use of stereotypes in the world
The speaker’s language towards the woman’s death in “The Last Night that she lived” portrays a yearning attitude that leads to disappointment; which reiterates human discontent with the imperfections of life. The description of woman’s death creates an image of tranquility that causes the speaker to aspire towards death. Her death compares to a reed floating in water without any struggle. The simile paradoxically juxtaposes nature and death because nature’s connotation living things, while death refers to dead things, but death becomes a part of nature. She consents to death, so she quietly dies while those around her refuse to accept her imminent death. The speaker’s description of death sounds like a peaceful experience, like going to sleep, but for eternity. These lines describe her tranquil death, “We waited while She passed—It was a narrow time—Too jostled were Our Souls to speak. At length the notice came. She mentioned, and forgot—Then lightly as a Reed Bent to the water, struggled scarce- Consented, and was dead-“ .Alliteration in “We waited”, emphasizes their impatience of the arrival of her death because of their curiosity about death. The woman’s suffering will be over soon. This is exhibited through the employment of dashes figuratively that form a narrow sentence to show the narrowing time remaining in her life, which creates suspense for the speaker, and also foreshadows that she dies quickly. The line also includes a pun because “notice” refers to the information of her death, and also announcement, which parallels to the soul’s inability to speak. “She mentioned, and forgot—“, refers to her attempt to announce her farewell to everyone, which connects to the previous line’s announcement. The dashes fig...
As a graduate student at the University of Chicago, Brent Staples never realized before the strong stereotype against black men has he had the one late night walk. When on a late night walk, Staples, a young black man realized the stereotype that most Americans have of the young black male. As a young white woman was walking that night in front of him and caught a glimpse of Staples approaching her. She became uncomfortable in the situation and responded by running away from Staples. Not until this incident did Staples realize the negative impact of the young black male on other people, often resulting in being intimidated. He was not seen as a young bright adult with a prominent future, rather he was seen as a mugger, or worse yet a rapist. He did not ask to be seen as a misconception of what others may believe him to be. People were often quick to judge him based solely on the color of his skin and nothing else. He was a twenty-two year old black male that stood over six feet with a broad frame. Brent had experienced many instances where people would see him as a person he is not. For example, one time he walked into a jewelry store and instantly the cashier assumed he was about to rob the store. She replied to her false premonition by going to the back of the store and coming out with a Doberman Pincher to chase him away. It is instances like this that can scar an individual and make him doubt oneself, but Brent did not and he found that he could fix the situation. His solution to the problem was whistling. He found that when he would whistle people saw him as less threatening, even thought most low-lifes did not know Beethoven or Mozart. Still, he found ways to deal with his problems and so can everyone else who is judged only on their physical appearance. Similarly to
In this essay, Dr. Brent Staples recounts his first time unintentionally scaring a young white women located in Hyde Park, Chicago. He recounts her worried posture, her hurried steps, and her repeated glances before she took off down the road. Dr. Staples, being a person of color, took slight offense to this. Before he had never really thought much about his skin color being a factor of intimidation, but rather just a piece of “normal” discrimination. It was the mid 1970’s after all, and it was no secret to anybody
In, “A toad the power mower caught, Chewed and clipped of a leg, with a hobbling hop has got” three separate ideas are presented. As well in, “Of the ashen heartshaped leaves in a dim, Low, and a final glade” Wilbur separated the different parts of the sentence. This creates a greater emphasis on each part of the sentence. The choppiness lets the sentence contain many different ideas. Every action the toad takes now has greater meaning and has more of an impact on the reader. By having many different emphasized ideas close together with no transition the speaker creates a more dramatic tone for the death and is able to emphasize all the toad’s
Racism is a powerful world in societies all over the world today. Regardless of where someone goes, racism in an inevitable act that is inflicted on a person whether they like it or not. In the essay, “Two Ways to Belong in America”, Bharati Mukherjee shares a personal experience that gives a sneak peek on how racism can impact one individual as her and her sister face the new laws on immigration in America. Brent Staples’ essay, “Just Walk on By”, also shares a personal experience of Staples, though he mainly addresses the quick assumptions people make about him just based off of his color. In his article, “Shooting an Elephant”, George Orwell tells of a man who faces an inner conflict between two races, and how it can affect the way a person
Deaths in pieces of literature are rarely mere devices to remove no longer relevant characters from the plot; deaths often contribute to overarching themes. Therefore, readers must not overlook death scenes, lest they miss key points of a work. In Kate Chopin’s novella The Awakening, the ambiguous suicide of the protagonist Edna Pontellier comprises the very end of her story. The circumstances of Edna’s untimely death, the positioning of the death scene in the story, and ambiguity of the implications of her death all endorse Chopin’s belief that an individual cannot live apart from both society and nature.
Virginia Woolf’s essay “Death of the Moth” describes her encounter with a moth as it fights furiously to escape her windowpane before it is claimed by death. The speaker’s first instinct as they intently watch the moth’s struggle is to help it, but as she goes to do so, they realize that the moth is engaged in the same inescapable struggle faced by all living creatures as they try to prevent death from robbing them of life. By witnessing the moth’s death, the speaker is compelled to ponder the philosophical implications that incur within the circular pattern of life and death. She is conscious of death’s omnipotent inevitability, but concludes that the ever-present possibility of death serves as a primary motivational force necessary for life to have value and meaning. Since death cannot be overpowered, the way an individual struggles to survive and preserve life even in its final moments is more valuable than the mundane, meaningless activities pursued with apathy.
Brent Staples focuses on his own experiences, which center around his perspective of racism and inequality. This perspective uniquely encapsulates the life of a black man with an outer image that directly affects how others perceive him as a person. Many readers, including myself, have never experienced the fear that Staples encounters so frequently. The severity of his experiences was highlighted for me when he wrote, “It also made it clear that I was indistinguishable from the muggers who occasionally seeped into the area from the surrounding ghetto.” (135) Having to accept that fact as a reality is something that many people will never understand. It is monumentally important that Staples was able to share this perspective of the world so others could begin to comprehend society from a viewpoint different from their
Through the writing of the essay “The Death of the Moth”, English writer, Virginia Woolf, portrays an interesting scenario that has possibly been observed by many people. That being the appearance of a moth attempting to escape from a house through a closed window. However after viewing multiple failed attempts, the moth meets its demise and folds its legs in dead defeat. But is there a deeper message buried between the lines of this alluring piece of work? Yes, it’s a much deeper theme based on her state of depression she's trying to deal with, but in the end, like the moth, she is overcome and death wins again. Throughout the essay, Virginia Woolf attempts to reach her purpose of the deeper meaning behind “The Death of the Moth” by using multiple rhetorical devices such as analogies and vivid imagery, as well as symbolism.
In the beginning of “The Death of the Moth” Woolf describes ”a pleasant morning, mid-September, mild, benignant” (193), the usual autumn day, with regular work on the field, rooks on the tree tops that looked like “a vast net with thousands of black knots” (194). The picture is calm, but rooks, symbol of death, bring dark color to it. Gradually, with the development of the events, when death starts winning over moth’s struggle to live, the image changes, “work in the fields had stopped” (195). Like in the slow-motion picture, everything becomes stiff. Woolf uses words “still”, “indifferent”, “impersonal” to increase a sense of despair. Author uses such an imagery to empower the hopelessness of the moment and to make the reader feel the futility of the life and death struggle.
She describes the September morning as “mild, benignant, yet with a keener breath than the summer months.” She then goes on to describe the field outside her window, using word choice that is quite the opposite of words that would be used to describe a depressing story. She depicts the exact opposite of death, and creates a feeling of joy, happiness, and life to the world outside her room. After this, she goes into great detail about the “festivities” of the rooks among the treetops, and how they “soared round the treetops until it looked as if a vast net with thousands of black knots in it had been cast up into the air”. There is so much going on around her that “it was difficult to keep the eyes strictly turned upon the book.” Descriptions like these are no way to describe a seemingly depressing story about a moth, but by using these, joyful descriptions, Woolf connects everything happening outside to a single strand of energy. These images set a lively tone for the world around her, and now allow her to further introduce the moth into the story.
In the essay “The Death of the Moth,” Annie Dillard discusses her observation of a moth being burned in a candle. As she continues to witness the moth’s death, Dillard fiercely describes the flaming insect as “glowing within, like a building fire glimpsed through silhouette walls.” Through this, Dillard invites the reader into her thought process with the comparison of the moth and death. After the moth died, it continued to burn and give off a radiant glow. Dillard continues to observe the insect, saying it “began to act as a wick.” The moth’s ability to illuminate the surroundings and intensify the flame of the candle portrays the idea that death is not the end of the impact a being of life has on earth. Dillard continues her analogy by applying it to her own life, hoping that her “light” will continue to burn after her death. Dillard aspires that her existence will not shrivel up and crumble like the other moths do after they die, that she will continue to enlighten her readers even after she is dead. She wants her audience to be inspired by her writing, impacting them as she was impacted by the moth. Her change in tone throughout the essay suggests her acknowledgment of importance for all things of life no matter how large or small. Dillard discovers that something as small as a moth still