Richard Wright's "Big Black Good Man".

1084 words - 4 pages

Our decisions in life have an affect on how we are as people. Whether we judge someone on their looks or their demeanor we are making a decision that could effect how we think and feel. In Richard Wright's "Big Black Good Man", Olaf the main character makes such a judgment. Olaf's judgment changes his life for the next year until he finally finds closure. In order to see how decisions and judgments affect our lives, we need to look up close and personal with Olaf.In the beginning Olaf is a man of relaxation and satisfaction with his life except for the sheer tiredness of work. He was a down to earth man "The watery gray irises behind the thick lenses...gave him a look of abstraction, of absentmindedness, of an almost genial idiocy" (281). He is satisfied with his life in saying "I'm not rich, but I'm not poor either" (281). He goes on stating that he is satisfied with his life, "Got good health...Got no debts...Money ain't everything..." (281). Olaf also shows he is a man of education. He is not an ignorant man. He has "Traveled all over the world" (281). He said he could have had children and "Could of taught them languages" (281), Languages of all kinds. In conclusion he is well educated and satisfied with his life.Things drastically changed when "the huge black thing that filled the doorway" (282) entered the room. "To Olaf, "men were men..." (283). But this man "didn't seem human" (283). Olaf was instantly judging this man because he was "too bid, too black, too direct, and probably to violent to boot" (283). Olaf felt insecure around this man as if to insult him "he felt as though this man had come here to...remind him how puny, how tiny, and how weak and how white he was" (283). Olaf wanted to refuse this man a room, "emotionally determined to refuse a man a room solely on the basis of the man's size and color" (283), all because of a judgment he had instantly made about the man. His judgment took over him and "sheer fear made him yield" (283). The fear that engulfed him because of his judgment took over him "Resentment clogged the pores of his wrinkled white skin" (283). This resentment about the man causes Olaf to be hesitant about giving him the woman he wanted.The Big Black man wants a woman for the night just as sailors always want "...almost always women and whiskey" (282) and Olaf says in the beginning "there's no harm in that" (282), but for this man Olaf "felt a deep and strange reluctance to phone any of the women whom he habitually sent to men" (284). Olaf called a girl for the black man and insisted on telling her "how big and black the man is" (285). This resentment towards the black man may be because Olaf has some insecurity about his own size. He says "I'm not prejudiced" (285), so the resentment for him has to be due to that insecurity of his smallness. Something that may not have been evident before that was hidden deep down inside him. "Try as he might,...

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