Big Black Good Man Persuasive Essay

Big Black Good Man” Racism has existed for as long as humans have walked the earth. “Big Black Good Man,” by author Richard Wright takes place in 1957 in Copenhagen, Denmark at a cheap hotel on the docks. Olaf Jensen is a 60 year old white night porter who sees all kinds of people come there for a room. When Jim, a 6 1/2 foot tall black sailor who works for American Continental Line, arrives, the dilemma begins. Olaf is frozen by the sight of Jim and wonders whether he should give him a room. But we must read more deeply into the text to know what Olaf is actually feeling.
Despite appearances, Olaf is not a racist because he has a multi-cultural background, he is afraid of Jim’s size and power, not his skin color, and he feels insecure in Jim’s presence. First, Olaf is not a racist because he has a multi-cultural background. In his youth Olaf was a in the services he was a sailor. While in the services over the world traveled all over the world. During his world travels, Olaf has been exposed to a diversity of people from different background, races and cultures.
While in navy, Olaf lived side by side with people of color “In his days, he’d worked and eaten and slept and fought with all kinds of men. ” Olaf had been exposed to so much with so many culture. Olaf even lived in the melting pot on the world. “He lived in New York city for ten years. ” For him to live so long in a city with such diversity suggests a open-mindedness to tolerance for different. During his travels, he even had learned 8 languages: “English, French, German, Danish, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian and Spanish. He took the time to learn these languages so he could better understand the people he was associating with. This makes it hard to believe that he was a racist. 1950’s segregation was still going on at this time, but it didn’t make any difference to Olaf. He actually states “It was not the hotel did not admit men of color…. He took all comers, blacks, yellows, whites, and browns. ” Olaf did not discriminate on the basis of skin color. “to Olaf men were men. ” Second, Olaf is not a racist because he is afraid of Jim’s size and power, not his skin color.

Jim’s sheer size at “ 61/2 feet into the air, almost touching the ceiling. ” Would cause any men to be afraid. Olaf constantly emphasize Jim’s enormous physique and power, describe as “His chest bulged like barrel” and “his rocklike shoulders hinted mountain ridges“ and “the stomach ballooned like a threatening stone. ” Olaf description of Jim gives a great image of Jim as a massive size and intimating features. It is easy to understand Olaf fear of Jim. He afraid so Jim that “With just one look at Jim’s hands he would have shivers”. Olaf was completely terrified of Jim.
Later in the story, Jim walked in to the office and demand Olaf to stand. Standing inch apart Jim lifted his mammoth hand his around Olaf throat. ” Olaf lost control of the reflex of his body and felt a hot stickiness flooding his underwear. Olaf fear made him loss control over his own bodily function. I only could imagine this situation and reacting any different then Olaf. Third, Olaf is not a racist because he feels insecure in Jim’s presence. Olaf is a small 5”7” 60 years old Caucasian man. Although he wasn’t poor he wasn’t rich, either a lifetime of working, he was still only a night potter.
In comparison, Jim who has money, youth and power. He envied Jim “ the easy manner in which it moved with such a creeping powerful motion” He felt that Jim presence command attention and respect. Having this enormous men in his presence frightened and insulted Olaf. “He believed that this man had come here expressly to remind him how puny, how tiny, and how weak he was. ” Olaf offers to take Jim‘s bag, but Jim replies “That‘s too heavy for you, big boy: I‘ll take it” Olaf feel that this man makes him inferior and less of a man. As a result, Olaf “Seethed against himself for his involuntary weakness”.
He was angry for allowing this men to make him feel weak. Unable to stand up to Jim, he feels “Him self beaten”, stating “He thinks am nothing. ” Olaf felt so belittle by this man specially after what happen with Jim in his office when due to true fear he wet him self he was so embarrassed that he couldn’t even tell his wife “ he wept…. He went home and lied to his wife, he had an upset stomach. ” Olaf was so embrace about what had happen he lied. Olaf was so insecure of him self after meeting Jim. This essay has made it clear that Olaf is not a racist but just a very afraid men.
A men that aloud his fear cloud his judgments. Even thou he was afraid he never aloud him self to act upon his fears. This story is a great example of how important close reading is. If you just focus on the vocabulary without putting any thought to what you read you could believe he is a racist. But once you look into the text and take into count the complete picture. An after only after you have read and reread is that the truth come to light. This story show us a great example of not judging a book by it cover. Even thou Jim was huge and scary he was one of the nice people.

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