John Griffin: A Thematic Analysis

955 Words4 Pages
Life in the Southern part of the United States during the late 1950’s was a time of great conflict. Blacks and Whites did not see eye to eye. John Howard Griffin makes an effort to document these times by portraying himself as a black man in South. Negroes, as they were called at the time, were treated very differently from the white population. He quickly found this out. John Griffin dyed his skin black to pass as a Negro. He learned that because of his skin color he was judged differently by everyone that he met. This sets the plot of the book by laying out the three themes: race, religion, and identity. With race comes racism and segregation; at least that is how it was back in the 1950’s. All of these were experienced by John Griffin. Everyone saw these…show more content…
He comes from the Roman Catholic Church. Inside the church, blacks and white were equally welcome. Griffin would seek his religion to get away from the cruel evils of the people. The first sign of religion arises when he is trying to cash a traveler’s check. He is in desperate need of cash and his only hope is to have a business cash one of his checks. Many of the businesses were discriminating against him due to his color. He was rejected at every business he went to. He knew on any given day he could go into those same places and have the checks cashed without any question as a white man. Griffin sought out to find a Catholic book store that cashed his check without question. Another instance of religion is seen when he confronts a black reverend. The reverend tells Griffin about the more racist areas of the South. Each area wasn’t the same. We see this when he travels to Mississippi where it is believed to be the worst place for Negros. The reason New Orleans is less racist than other parts is due to the strong Catholic influence. Griffin ends his journey concluding that if religion is practiced right, it can be a “refuge” from the
Open Document