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Formal Writing Assignment

1562 words - 7 pages

Many people say to embrace your own self but it is hard when are being treated differently because of who you are. In Southern Gothic Fiction there are many visible signs of how people are treated differently because of something to do with their appearance. It’s interesting to look at in our time period now since so many laws and human expectations have changed. I believe the people in these stories were treated unfairly and it would never have happened in today’s society.
I chose to look at William Faulkner’s “Dry September” and Eudora Welty’s “Keela the Outcast Indian Maiden” because I saw the stories were shaped the most by race relations in the south. If the way race was looked at was different in this time period, these stories wouldn’t even exist. There are different ways white people treated African Americans in the south and they are all cruel and unjust in my opinion.
In Faulkner’s “Dry September”, the African Americans live among the white people but are treated much as less. These stories took place in a slightly awkward time period after emancipation but before the Civil Rights movement. Due to the fact that African Americans were free but didn’t really have any rights, the people in this town find it their responsibility to take care of matters. In the story a majority of the white men in town go to “take care” of Will Mayes after he has been accused of raping Minnie Cooper, a white woman. The story doesn’t actually tell the reader if Will Mayes is killed but it is implied that the white men kill him.
Another aspect of this short story, which I consider to be unjust, is the fact people take the word of a white person over a black person only because of skin color. Minnie Cooper said Will Mayes raped her and almost everyone believed her. There were many factors that made her story not as believable and only one man, Henry “Hawkshaw” Stribling, noticed. He knew Will Mayes was a good man and also thought that if someone were to rape anyone, Minnie Cooper probably wouldn’t be their first pick. Minnie Cooper was almost in her forties and she even knew men weren’t very attracted to her.
The white men of the town didn’t just look down on Will Mayes for possibly committing the crime, but they looked down on Hawkshaw for defending him. They thought it was insane that he would believe the words of a black man over a white woman. Hawkshaw saw the flaws in the accusation but everyone else either looked past them or didn’t look into them at all. In our society today, if a jure ever made a decision based on skin color it would be a huge debate, but during this time, the man who sought the truth was the one everyone looked down on.
This story would have been nothing is race wasn’t an issue in the south. The racism helped shape it because there would be no debatable central conflict if it weren’t for racism during this time. If a black man raped a black woman no one in the town would notice. If a white man were to rape a black woman, it wouldn’t...

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