Saturday, February 23, 2008

Moral Fiber 2.0

I can see that Wright wanted to provide an entirely different perspective than the pure 'Uncle Toms,' but was it really necessary to portray Jake as such a one-dimensional character? It was interesting that Jake's character was questionable at best, and that he was indeed the opposite of what is considered pure and good, but was it the simplicity of his actions that was so groundbreaking? Was it the fact that the portrayal of Jack as an extreme and polar character that was so pivotal? Would not a multi-dimensional character, expressing not only essentialist and discriminatory ideals, but an amalgam of both pure and bad aspects cast him in a better light?

Upon finishing, 'Lawd Today!' these were some of the questions I continued ponder. Although Jake's death was left up in the air upon the conclusion of the novel, I still felt anxious and unsatisfied. I wanted some finality, a fulfillment of the archetype of the man that conquers the world. As I struggled with this, I thought that the reason for Wright ending the book in such a way was categorical of the realist theme. The account of Jake was realistic--things don't always work out, and the world is cruel. I felt that as a result of being completely unsympathetic towards Jake, I was not only able despise  him, but also the series of events and circumstances that ultimately culminated in his demise.

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