To be a minority is a very difficult task. Fighting daily prejudices and trying to establish a unique identity that fits into society at the same time is often one of the hardest things for a “different” person to do. Deciding one’s daily activities and then watching the repercussions of those activities can be discouraging at times. In the novels, The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man, and Jews Without Money, two characters, the narrator and Herman, must fight the establish their own personal identity during a time when each are a minority.
One of the first things a person has to learn in order to find his own identity is the ability to make his own choices. He has to be able to take initiative for himself and stand his own ground. He can not let others decide what he will do. While still in Roumania, Herman’s father and another local townsman agreed to an arranged marriage between Herman and the townsman’s daughter. Herman liked the girl but did not want to marry her. However, during this period of time, it would be considered severely disrespectful to disobey this type of planning. It was at this point the Herman decided he could not let people tell him what to do any longer. While settling the contract of their marriage, Herman told his father, “…I refuse to marry this [this girl]…I am not a child any longer…” (Gold 98). From there on Herman set out to make his own choices. The narrator also made a similar choice. After the death of his mother, he was left to make the choice about his college education. His runaway father offered to pay for his college education only if he attended Harvard University, not Atlanta University the college that his ...
... middle of paper ...
...n a journey to Japan, he told his friend that he needed to go back to America and pursue a career. The narrator gave up everything in order to find his own identity. He was willing to suffer to make a place for himself in society.
Whatever the consequences may be, every person needs to have their own identity. The obstacles that one must face to grow out of a minority will eventually make a stronger person in the outcome. Herman and the narrator both grew to become stronger people. Although they were not always thought of like everyone else, they fought to make their own identities and neither were told what to do. They were their own individuals.
Gold, Michael. Jews Without Money. New York: Carroll & Graf Publishers, 1996.
Johnson, James Weldon. An Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man. New York:
Penguin Books, 1990.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- In 1912, The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man was anonymously published by James Weldon Johnson. It is the narrative of a light-skinned man wedged between two racial categories; the offspring of a white father and a black mother, The Ex-Colored man is visibly white but legally classified as black. Wedged between these two racial categories, the man chooses to “pass” to the white society. In Passing: When People Can’t Be Who They Are, Brooke Kroeger describes “passing” as an act when “people effectively present themselves as other than who they understand themselves to be” (Kroeger 7).... [tags: The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man]
1106 words (3.2 pages)
- Oskar Schindler's Actions During the Holocaust The Holocaust usually refers to Nazi Germany's systematic genocide of various peoples during the Second World War, the main target of this designed massacre being the Jews. Approximately 6 million Jews became the victims of this fanatical racism, slaughter, and cruelty. However, in all this madness, there were still a few people with sound conscience and courage to act against these atrocities. The most famous of these heroes would be Oskar Schindler, the once opportunistic businessman who, later, spent every last of his pennies to save his 1200 "Schindler Jews." People often deliberate on why Oskar Schindler did what he did.... [tags: Schindler Jews Jewish Nazi Genocide Essays]
1520 words (4.3 pages)
- Anti-Semitism, a hatred of Jews, has been present for centuries in many places. However, the term ‘Anti-Semitism’ itself only came into use in the nineteenth century, and along with it came an ideology which fuelled this deep psychological hatred to develop into a political movement which culminated in Nazism. Throughout history, the reasons for Anti-Semitism have differed and in Imperial Germany, it was a combination of religious, racial and political factors which led to such hostility toward Jews.... [tags: Antisemitism, Jews, Judaism, Germany]
1763 words (5 pages)
- The Autobiography of the Ex-Colored Man: The Ability to Pass The Autobiography of An Ex-Colored Man depicts the narrator as a liminal character. Beginning with an oblivious knowledge of race as a child, and which racial group he belonged, to his well knowing of “white” and “black” and the ability to pass as both. On the account of liminality, the narrator is presenting himself as an outsider. Because he is both a “white” and “black” male, he does not fit in with either racial group. In the autobiography of an Ex-colored man, James Weldon Johnson uses double consciousness to show the narrators stance as a person that gives up his birthright for the “privilege of whiteness”.... [tags: Literary Analysis ]
1127 words (3.2 pages)
- "Songs For a Colored Singer" by Elizabeth Bishop What is a song but a poem set to music. Take away the music from a good song and the rhythm of the words will create its own musical sound. “Songs For a Colored Singer”, a poem written by Elizabeth Bishop, is a song without the music. Bishop’s use of repetitive rhymes creates the lyrical, song like, structure to her poem. The voice of the song belongs to a black woman who encounters adversity throughout the poem. The sum of the elements, a black woman singing about hard times, equal one distinct style of music, namely the blues.... [tags: Colored Singer Elizabeth bishop Essays]
1380 words (3.9 pages)
- When society thinks of the term alienation, are they referring to the person ostracized by society or are they referring to the person who is psychologically separated from themselves. There are several different uses of this term. However, two uses seem to be especially predominating: the sociological processes and the psychological states. In “The Revolver,” “Housewife,” and “How it feels to be colored me,” Bazan, Chughtai, and Hurston respectively, relate both the social and the psychological aspects of alienation with respect to fear, oppression, and identity.... [tags: How It Feels to Be Colored Me]
1942 words (5.5 pages)
- When reading the Siete partidas, the main differences between laws and practices in the treatment of Jews and Muslims that Nirenberg and Barton failed to explain were the conversion laws for these non-Christians. These laws carefully explain the way in which to persuade a non-Christian to convert; “by means of the texts of the Holy Scriptures, and by kind words, for no one can love or appreciate a service which is done him by compulsion” (49). In regards to Jews, if a Jew or Jewess wishes to convert to Christianity, “all persons in our dominions shall honor them”, no one was allowed to insult or harm any convert for formerly being a Jew.... [tags: Judaism, Religion, Persian Jews, Jews]
1064 words (3 pages)
- “There is a place on earth that is a vast desolate wilderness, a place populated by shadows of the dead in their multitudes, a place where the living are dead, where only death, hate and pain exist,” said Giuliana Tedeschi, a holocaust survivor (Tedeschi). The Hungarian Jews assumed they were the safest of all the Jewish groups and in the end suffered the most. Hundreds were shipped in cattle cars without supplies for days to concentration camps. Auschwitz, one of the furthermost used death camps was going under colossal change to prepare for the arrival of the unfortunate Hungarian Jews.... [tags: nazi, jews]
922 words (2.6 pages)
- In this week 's reading, we read about how Jews, Christians, and Muslims interacted with one another in Barcelona, Toledo, and Granada. Elka Klein 's book on Jews, Christian Society, and Royal Power in Medieval Barcelona gives context to Jewish/Christian relations in Barcelona, while also defining the Jewish "community" in terms of acculturation. Barcelona was still a frontier society ruled by the Counts of Barcelona after Louis the Pious captured the city from the Moors in the ninth century, and it became a vital commercial center in the 12-13th centuries under Ramon Berenguer VI.... [tags: Judaism, Jews, Israel, Persian Jews]
971 words (2.8 pages)
- Life as a White Man in The Autobiography of An Ex-Colored Man "...the effect is a tendency toward lighter complexions, especially among the more active elements in the race. Some might claim that this is a tacit admission of colored people among themselves of their own inferiority judged by the color line. I do not think so. What I have termed an inconsistency is, after all, most natural; it is, in fact, a tendency in accordance with what might be called an economic necessity. So far as racial differences go, the United States puts a greater premium on color, or better, lack of color, than upon anything else in the world." --the protagonist (page 72) James Weldon Johnson's first-person... [tags: Biography Biographies Essays]
819 words (2.3 pages)