Sunday, February 10, 2008


When Jake is called before the board at his Postal Service job, one of the men on the board is a black man Howard. Instead of seeing an ally in a position of power Jake sees Howard's presence as negative. " 'There's that Gawd damn nigger Howard' Jake thought bitterly."(121). This is somewhat surprising as he and Howard would seem to share common ground
Jake's reason for disdaining Howards presence is made clear when he muses over how he should handle the situation, "How can I talk to these white folks with that nigger setting watching me? If I try to beg 'em to go easy on me, he'll think I'm an Uncle Tom,"(122). However there is a far more overarching reason why Jake dislikes Howard in general, "He's the one who's an Uncle Tom,"(122). An Uncle Tom is a derogatory term for an African American who acts in a subservient manner toward white people. Howards seeming success in raising above the typical African-American jobs irks Jake and other African Americans because he is seen as having "sold out". Rationally this it seems that they should be happy that African Americans are starting to be able to pull off this type of ladder climbing, however people, especially ignorant uneducated people like Jake, are rarely rational and since the people pulling this off are not directly making their life easier then they are "sellouts".

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