The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man Paper

The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man Paper - Final Copy...

Info iconThis preview shows pages 1–3. Sign up to view the full content.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Final Copy September 29, 2005 The Price of Pottage Set in prejudicial early Twentieth-century America, James Weldon Johnson’s The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man gives a psychological account of a mulatto, Johnson, torn between his claims to both the Negro and white races. In a defining conversation with his mother when he was a young boy, Johnson discovers that he is not the white individual he thought he was, but also part of the Negro race. When he realizes this, a radical change takes place and he begins to see himself from the viewpoint of a colored man. Johnson begins to feel displaced through the remainder of his boyhood, and struggles to find his identity within both of his races. Johnson’s psychological oppression, implicated by the numerous acquaintances throughout his life, ultimately leads him to understand the consequences of loosing his connection with the Negro race. Although the millionaire doesn’t enter the story until later in Johnson’s life, he is crucial to Johnson’s psychological understanding of race. “My boy, you are by blood, by appearance, by education, and by tastes a white man. Now, why would you want to throw your life away amidst the poverty and ignorance, in the hopeless struggle, of the black people in the Untied States” (Johnson 105). This question the millionaire poses to Johnson enhances his perplexity about embracing his Negro culture. The millionaire hints at Johnson to give up his Negro heritage for a life of acceptance in a culture that is not victimized for its color. He further states, “I can imagine no more dissatisfied human being than an educated, cultured, and refined colored man in the United States” (106). The millionaire additionally seeks to pursue Johnson from leaving his current status of
Background image of page 1

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full DocumentRight Arrow Icon
“white” and to detach himself from the race that faces “cruel treatment” (106). The millionaire, being Johnson’s best friend and the representation of upper-class aristocracy, which Johnson greatly admires, considers Johnson to be a dignified white man that should not align himself with the degraded Negro class. Johnson is put “in a troubled state of mind” (107) by his best friend’s plea for him to stay amongst the “superior race.” But he goes contrary to his friend’s advice in the hope of finding acceptance within the Negro race. “And so I separated from the man who was, all in all, the best friend I ever had, except my mother, the man who exerted the greatest influence ever brought into my life, except that exerted by my mother” (108). Johnson eventually understands at the end
Background image of page 2
Image of page 3
This is the end of the preview. Sign up to access the rest of the document.

This note was uploaded on 02/19/2009 for the course ENG ENG 208 taught by Professor Unknown during the Spring '09 term at Washtenaw.

Page1 / 6

The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man Paper - Final Copy...

This preview shows document pages 1 - 3. Sign up to view the full document.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Ask a homework question - tutors are online