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Racial Oppression In Like A Winding Sheet By Ann Petry

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The Effects of Racial Oppression on an Ethical Man In life, there are many scenarios where normal daily activities can ultimately wear down a person to the point of an out-of-character reaction. Whether this reaction be full of anger, sadness, or even happiness, it may not depend if the subject is a morally upright human in the first place. These experiences can be seen in multiple stories in literature. In the story, “Like a Winding Sheet” by Ann Petry, the author uses point of view, characterization, and symbolism to express the effects of racial oppression on an ethical man. The author uses point of view within this story to allow the reader to fully grasp the concept of the main character’s total personality change. Throughout the story, the main character is exceptionally stable and maintains a calm state of mind whenever he feels his anger swelling. But, when reading the sections of this short story, from his point of view, the reader can recognize what he’s really thinking and what he really wants to do to his foreman and wife, Mae. Little by little common daily occurrences started to wear him down. At one point in the story, he was getting very angry at a statement his foreman said about “niggers” always being late to work. Then he started to show signs of potentially harming her. For example, “his fists doubled” in size, his lips narrowed, and his forehead appeared to swell (Petry 1500). Then the foreman said, “Aw forget it. I didn’t mean nothing by it. It slipped
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