Conflict In A Soldier's Play

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Charles Fuller’s A Soldier’s Play explores the struggle of a black sergeant who in conflict with his racial identity. In WW2, it was rare for a colored man to hold a position of power in the military. At the time, many African-Americans were unable to fight at all. Sgt. Waters becomes one of the few to break the chain, yet he acts as if he is white himself. Knowing his own struggle as a black man, Waters seeks to liken himself with the white man. Wanting to overcome the race gap, Waters is determined to do anything, even jail his own kind. His offenses result in his men developing hostility towards him, even if Waters is black himself. Water’s apathy for his men isn’t rooted in hatred, but in fear of becoming like them, and never amounting to anything. Waters is incredibly prideful of the black race, even though he shows disdain for it. When talking to Wilkie at the bar, Waters mentions that blacks ought to have higher positions in society: “We need lawyers, doctors— generals— senators!”. Waters is referring to positions that the black man needs, showing he wants his race to advance. Each position gets higher in rankings. The hyphen between each position signals a short pause before going to the next. The pause puts a…show more content…
In the line immediately after Waters talking about positions, he tells Wilkie: “Stop thinkin’ like a niggah!”. Waters isn’t afraid to use the word “niggah” when talking to his men, yet he draws a line, not saying “nigger”. From Water’s perspective, “niggahs” aren’t a race, but rather a mindset. Waters calls Wilkie a “niggah” in response to Wilkie saying: “Can’t get pee from a rock, Sarge”. Waters doesn’t dislike Wilkie for who he is, but rather his beliefs. He disagrees with Wilkie’s compliance of his social status as a “niggah”. Waters wants to create a clear distinction between a black man and a niggah, by serving as an example of what a black man can
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