Walter Mosley Black Betty Analysis

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Walter Mosley's Black Betty is a mystery novel seeking to solve mysteries beyond those printed on the page. Throughout the text Mosley uses the detective, Ezekiel "Easy" Rawlins, to encourages the reader to examine topics such as: racism, religion, social hierarchies, and the importance of free thinking. "Free thinking" in this context is the ability for one to understand their frame and question what they "know" in order to come closer to the truth. Mosley uses imagery of chains, importance on empathy and examination, and the structure of his writing to show readers the importance of being a free thinker. Mosley uses imagery of chains to encourage readers to realize their frame. A frame is the same as worldview, it is the lens through which…show more content…
While riding the bus to John's bar, Rawlins states the following: "…Chains we wore for no crime; chains we wore for so long that they melded with our bones. We all carry them but nobody can see it-not even most of us." (Black Betty, 289). One must consider the purpose of chains: to keep something from moving or confined within a certain area. Mosley wants to point out that every person has something that they are chained to, specifically in regard to their frame. This is affirmed by the diction in the last line, "We all carry them but nobody can see it-not even most of us." (Black Betty, 289). If these chains are carried by all, they must have less to do with a historical incident, such as slavery, and be more universal. This sentence highlights the fact that all human beings are subject to particular frames and worldviews. Mosley acknowledges that these are unavoidable consequences of living but does not imply that they should go un-acknowledged. Later in the passage Rawlins states the following: "All the way home I thought about freedom coming for us at last. What about all those centuries in chains? Where do they go when you get…show more content…
The first paragraph begins with short, factual sentences: "There weren't many people out in the street… On the bus there were mainly old people and young mothers and teenagers coming in late to school." (Black Betty, 289). This represents a narrow-minded thinker. They are content with what is directly in front of them and don't care to question it. The narrow-minded thinker is disconnected from the people around them and does not think about them. In the second paragraph, readers see Rawlins begin to infer about the people around him. Rawlins is able to identify with the passengers on the bus and shows characteristics of a free thinker. He examines the features of the passengers and uses his experience to empathize with them but does not allow it to narrow his perspective. This section represents someone in the process of becoming a free thinker: they realize that they don't understand everything and begin to think critically about what transpires around them. The last paragraph is three sentences long, two of which are interrogatives. The first sentence of the last paragraph begins with "All the way home I thought…" showcasing the metamorphosis from narrow-minded to free thinker. By ending the paragraph with the interrogative sentences, the reader is left to try and answer the questions for themselves, navigating their own frame to approach the truth.
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