Vision wrote out alludes to the idea of physically seeing, whether that’s a person, a place, or even a perspective. Vision can be blurred very easily, in a way that can cause bad judgment. Colson Whitehead uses the theme of repression and racism showing the malice and harsh conditions that the black characters had to endure. Through these conditions, Colson shows how racism and repression can be escaped or dealt with, but just because it’s over that doesn’t mean the suffering ends. Colson uses vision as his approach to racism and repression by comparing the perspective of the white students VS. the black students through the eyes of two black characters that have many negative altercations with the white man to show the difference of treatment and disparity. Colson creates an obvious barrier to the way the students are treated, he does this by segregating the living quarters and altering the punishment given to the different ethnic backgrounds. Repression is shown throughout the novel in many ways, but the main way is the creation of a building where black students are taken to get brutally beaten or even killed due to actions that should never end in that kind of treatment. Racism comes into light because the white kids are never taken to those quarters to get beat, no matter the circumstance or situation, at the end of the day, a white man was going to end up brutally injuring or killing a black boy. The biggest toll from these beatings and mistreatment, isn’t the bruises and bloody skin, but the toll it takes on one mental state may haunt them forever as Elwood and Tuner may try to escape the school, the mental abuses and feelings are something that they will never escape
Body paragraph 1
Topic: The white men/kids represented in the novel and their “vision” on the school and who they fear.
Point: To show how the white people are treated in the book give the reader and representation of what the white kids had to go through and what the white adults were doing to the black kids.
Evidence: page “The racial division of the school recreated itself in the gym, with white boys taking the south half and black boys claiming the north, they jostled at the borders.” (106-107)
How does it tie back: It shows how the white people were treated and brings me perfect leeway into the next paragraph about how the blacks were treated.
Body paragraph 2
Topic: Give a brief description of how the black kids were treated and what they went through and how harsh their living conditions were.
Point:To show the great depths that white men were going through in order to victimize these young black males.
Evidence: “Anytime a white man ask you about yourself, they were about to fuck you over.” pg103
“You can change the law but you can’t change people and how they treat each other.” Pg105
How does it tie back: It shows the harsh conditions the black kids were going through it literally shows repression and racism going to work.
Body paragraph 3
Topic: Talk about the two characters and the vision that each one of them had throughout the story give specifics on how Elwood was naive and Turner was aware. Elwood always expected people to act how he would act and be understanding. Show how he is naive and Turner is the one that is aware and bounce their differences off of eachother.
Point: To show how vision can be clouded and how racism and repression can change a man forever. You can escape it but it can never be outrun. Show the difference in characters but similar in a way
Evidence: “In African American literature the voice of the satirist is often sorely needed (though not always heeded) to provide the critiques of his or her community that might otherwise be elided. These critiques are especially useful when we consider the adverse conditions under which African Americans live now. Satire can expose the fallacies within popu-larly accepted schools of thought to push African Americans forward to improve their liminal, physical, and economic conditions” This souce is understanding Colson Whitehead
How does it tie back: To show the difference between the two and how racism and repression ultimately changed and hurt these two young men
Body paragraph 4
Topic: Talk about Elwood dying and him finally realizing that shit was not okay and he was very naive and he can’t expect the best out of people. Show how him being beaten and locked into the vage change him, it showed him the truth of humanity and it might be too late for him
Point:. To show the effect racism and repression had on such a strong-minded character who was naive but always believed in the good
Evidence: “ Tune tells Elwood, And don’t take no one with you. Not one of those dummies they’ll take you down with them” Page 124 Nickel Boys
How does it tie back: It ties back to the idea that what these characters are going through is beating them up physically but most importantly mentally and they don’t realize it now, but they’ll be running from this the rest of their lives.
Body paragraph 5
Topic: The death of Elwood and how Turner lives his new life and how he feels he can never run from the past. Show how the death of his friend and all the harsh treatment they went through has caused him to live a life where looking over his shoulder is a daily thing. Use the quotes to show how trauma in this case racism and repression can mess a human up
Point: The point is to show that through racism and repression Turner is left to live for himself and his friend but feels he is followed by this past forever.
Evidence: “Trauma is an unsolvable problem of the unconscious that illuminates the inherent contradictions of experience and language.” pg 1 in Contemporary Approaches In Literary Trauma Theory by Michelle Balaev. “Trauma is an individual’s response to events so intense that they impair emotional or cognitive functioning and may bring lasting psychological disruption, survivors might live with a fragmented memory or a diminished sense of self or might feel alienated”pg 131
How does it tie back: This feeds right into my thesis talking about how something as harsh as racism and repression will affect a young man for the rest of his life.
Conclusion: Some say that at a young age is when your mind is the most fragile. During the time of segregation and racism, black people endured a lot. They overcame a pivotal point in history and kept fighting regardless of their circumstances. A lot of lives were lost in this process, but the war was fought and ultimately won. I talk about racism and repression over the years because this book, this story shows us a glimpse of how it was for African Americans. Colson uses this story of the school to portray the horrific things that were done to people of color for no obvious reason other than the color of their skin. Colson focuses on the main idea of vision showing a naive character and a well-rounded aware character. Through these two very different perspectives Colson hits the nail on the head and shows that something as harsh as repression and racism and everything that comes with those is hard to escape and be freed from but even after leaving those terrible times in the past, a lot of the time the suffering physically is over, but mentally that is something these black kids will never outrun.
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