Writing Inspired by the Death of Martin Luther King Jr.

Writing Inspired by the Death of Martin Luther King Jr.

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The story takes place a few miles from New York City in 1968. The reader is introduced to a nine-year-old boy who is dropped off at a theatre with his friend in the outskirts of the town. The theatre plays horror-films, which excite the boys. As they enter the theatre they knew this wasn't a regular movie theatre. A black man served them their drinks and as they sat down on the front row they discovered that they were the only whites in the theatre. Their instinct told them to fly, but at the same time the theatre went crazy as a werewolf attacked its victim on the screen. All the black kids stood up screaming. The two white boys had never seen such a reaction. After the movie-show the boy and his friend decided to go to this theatre every Saturday.
One day everything changed. Martin Luther King was murdered and the black section of the town went berserk. Buildings were burned down and the police arrested many of the black men. That Saturday the boy went to the theatre alone because his friend didn't dare. As a scary scene came up the boy screamed. He was met by angry looks from the black kids who had stayed silent. Now he knew that something had changed in the theatre.

B:
The small town in which the boy lives is divided into two sections – the western section and the eastern section. The town is segregated and the blacks live in the poor eastern section while the whites live in the rich western end. Of course a few black people work in the western section as school janitors and housekeepers but they are almost invisible in the landscape. Therefore the kids don't know anything about the blacks. They have only heard the cruel jokes that the adults sometimes tell or heard terrible stories about white kids who have been beaten up by black kids. The white children have got a delusion about these black people with whom they rarely associate. This is why the main character and his friend Kevin are so terrified when they discover that the Roxy Theatre is filled with black kids. They are certain that they will be mocked or even worse - that they will be beaten. Fortunately this doesn't happen. When the horror-creature appears all the black kids stand up hollering and cheering.

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This seems amazing to the two white boys. They have been raised to sit still in their seats keeping quiet when they are at the movies. But these black children are showing their emotions and let go of them. It fascinates the two white boys tremendously. They discover that the black children won't do them any harm because they are almost invisible to them exactly like the blacks in the white section of the town are invisible to the whites.
The main character realizes that as long as the black children are able to aim their aggression and terror toward the screen, then they don't care about the two white boys. The reason why the black kids get so caught up in the horror movies is, I think, that it is about creatures that don't exist. When the black children watch these scary movies the world around them and the violent, aggressive and segregated environment they live in doesn't seem as cruel and unbearable to them because there are at least no vampires or monsters who can hurt them. Also the fear they feel when they watch these movies isn't a fear that something could happen to them but something which is created by a movie director. It is a fabricated story they see on the screen, a fabricated story they don't have to fear when they go out of the theatre. Although they don't have to fear it, it makes them think of something else than the real fear that is surrounding them.
Another strange thing about this movie theatre is that movies that the two white boys would normally taunt seem exciting. The good atmosphere and the deep fear in the auditorium are incredibly contagious. The white boys soon learn how to scream and jump in their seats whenever something scary happens. When the movie cavalcade ends the boys agree to go there every Saturday because it was something they really enjoyed. They had the time of their lives because they were able to show all of their emotions, which made the movies more real. The theatre is very important to the white kids. This is also why they keep it as a secret that they come there once a week; otherwise the parents might refuse to let them go on Saturdays. In the theatre the boys are able to act differently than in the western section. They can scream and cheer and show that they are afraid without being mocked by others or without being told to keep quiet. In the theatre they are free which is the reason why it is such a great experience to watch the scary movies in the Roxy Theatre.
When Martin Luther King is killed everything changes. The eastern side of the town goes crazy. Buildings are burned down and black men are arrested. Even though all the things that are happening around him terrify the main character he goes to the theatre. Everything there has changed though. As he cries out when there is a scary scene in the movie everyone turn at him with angry looks. All the black children keep quiet during the movie. The atmosphere and the fear for the movie have left the auditorium and have been replaced by sincere fear. In the days after King's death the eastern side has been chaotic. I think, that the black kids have seen and experienced too many really scary things during the last few days so the artificial world in the movie theatre couldn't be beat the horror of real life.
I don't think, that the main character will ever return to the Roxy Theatre. He felt as if he was the only monster in the theatre that day simply because it was the whites who had caused all the chaos in the eastern side of the town.
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