The symbols used by Baraka in this first scene suggest to the audience that the education and literacy of white America, in contrast to the uneducated majority of African-Americans, was delaying African-Americans in speaking out against the white man and delaying their awareness of the injustice and imbalance of power between whites and blacks. As Rice suggested, Baraka could be attempting to send a message to the African-American people, urging them to take action against the inequalities and the control held by white America. This portrays the white man as being controlling and manipulative of African-Americans, as well as attempting to seduce them into submission.
Lula’s mockery of Clay and her use of language in their interaction is also an attempt by Baraka to portray white America to the reader or audience. Lula ‘bewitches Clay not only with her seductive beauty, but also with her language’ (Klotman, 1973, 100). Lula chooses to talk in riddles, helping Baraka to portray his idea of the relationship between black and white America to the reader or audience (Rice, 1971). Lula stereotypes African-Americans, and African-American experience throughout the play. She is convinced she knows what sort of person Clay is, not because she knows him, but because she knows his ‘type’ very well (12). Lula claims to know Clay like palm of her hand, and is mocking of African-Americans when she attempts to guess his name. ‘Gerald or Walter. Huh? ...One of those hopeless coloured names