entanglement of race and socioeconomic status
This week, read closely from Seagull: Toni Morrison, “Recitatif” p. 302 and James Alan McPherson, “A Loaf of Bread” p. 268 and respond to the following.
These stories ask the reader to acknowledge the entanglement of race and socioeconomic status, as McPherson and Morrison raise issues of personal responsibility and guilt, methods of protest against systematic social inequality, and the conflict between public and private selves. While McPherson is explicit about racial identities in his short story, Morrison intentionally avoids identifying her characters by race, though we know one is black and one is white. In the end, both stories leave a lot unstated, ambiguous, and left up to the reader’s interpretation.
· How do these two short stories address issues of social inequality, and do you find one approach more effective than the other? Consider, especially, how storytelling encourages empathy. Do these stories effectively allow a reader to put her/himself in another’s “shoes”?
· Ultimately, why does it matter if Mr. Green is fair? Why should we care what happened to Maggie? And does it really matter if Maggie was black?
· Does an individual have a responsibility to others? Is there some kind of “code” that demands we treat each other with fairness and equality, or is it more important that a person “does what needs to be done” to protect his/her own interests before all others?
Morrison Toni.” Recitatif” The Seagull Book of Stories. Edited by Joseph Kelly, 2017, pp. 302-322.
McPherson, James A.“A Loaf of Bread” The Seagull Book of Stories. Edited by Joseph Kelly, 2017, pp. 268-287.
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