Shunk: A Flat Character In Hurston's Spunk

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The mainstay figure of the short story, "Spunk," whom the story is named after, offers a unique example of the believable, appropriate, and curiously unlikable character. Being a flat character, Spunk thinks of himself as the most dominant man in town which fuels his arrogance, as well as his ego, as shown when he says, "...the dirty sneak shoved me...he didn't dare come to my face"(Hurston). This exemplifies Spunk's firm belief that he is the most powerful man not only between him and Joe Kanty, but between him and the rest of the world. Due to his superiority complex, Spunk exhibits a thirst for control. A perfect example of this complex is when Spunk faces Lena and tells her, "ah'll git the lumber foh owah house to-morrow... when youse…show more content…
Throughout the story the antagonist Joe portrays himself as a jealous, and angry man. One way the story illustrates these characteristics is how Joe reacts to the situation of Spunk and Lena together. Joe reacts by going out to confront Spunk with a small razor which he intends to use if the situation calls for it. By Joe doing this the reader can see that Joe acted with anger out of jealousy instead of just talking to Spunk and Lena about the predicament. Another way we can see how Joe is jealous and mad at Spunk for stealing Lena from him is when Joe says, "Spunk's done gone too fur"(Hurston). Joe says this because he feels envious and annoyed that Spunk is spending more time with Lena than he is, and that Spunk should not be trying to steal another man's wife. Being the onesided character that Joe is, Joe also depicts himself as static character that never changes from the scared person he is. When the narrator describes Joe's movements the reader can easily pick up that Joe is afraid of Spunk. Once while the locals from town were all gathered at the town store the narrator describes Joe's maneuvering after Joe hears that Spunk is with Lena again by saying "He stood there silent for a long moment staring blankly, with his Adam's apple twitching nervously up and down his throat"(Hurston). This quote shows that he was very nervous and wanted to speak out but could not since he was afraid and fearful. In addition to this, Joe can be seen again as a apprehensive character when he says, "He reached deep down into his trouser pocket and drew out a hollow ground razor, large and shiny..."(Hurston). Both of these quotes prove that Joe was intimidated by Spunk, by his demeanor when people around him talk about Spunk and how he feels that he needs protection of a razor to go talk to Spunk. Going to talk and confront Spunk with a razor has a meaning behind it. The meaning or
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