Essays academic service


A plot and setting review of the book black like me

He leaves his home in Texas in order to roam through the Deep South. That's a lot of traveling, if you ask us: Because of all this traveling, Griffin is always on the move.

Who can edit:

We see him on buses, walking down highways, staying in hotels, or couch surfing with people he barely knows. This is great for us, but not so great for him.

  • He evades what could have been the most powerful function of his text;
  • You will not regret it;
  • Give Rebecca Graf a round of applause.

Traveling means that we get to see lots of different aspects of race relations between blacks and whites in the South. Basically, it keeps things interesting. Unfortunately, what's interesting for us puts Griffin in danger. There is almost always some altercation when he's traveling from one place to another on the bus, let alone that whole hitchhiking incident which turned out to be one of the most disgusting parts of the whole book.

Review of Black Like Me

Then, when he reaches his destination, Griffin has to lodge with possibly untrustworthy people or in gross, rundown hotels. He's a journalist after all. Griffin set out in the beginning of the book to expose the state of the black man in the South.

If he only visited one state or one city, it would be easy to say that his experience wasn't representative of the whole South. But by going to various places, even places that claim they have good race relations, he was able to show the reality of life in the South for black people.

  1. Falling Action Home Sweet Home? Exposition Initial Situation Black like Who?
  2. Well, Griffin was one year too early for that.
  3. The Negroes were about to urinate all over the bus, but they decided it would just be another thing for the whites to hold against blacks. East in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, and Ralph McGill of Atlanta who use their newspapers to take a public stand for right and justice.
  4. We could write a whole textbook just on this, but right now we're gonna keep it simple.

The Big Picture If you're good little Shmoopos and Shmoopettes, you'll remember when the civil-rights movement begins. In some ways, it begins as early as the 1800's.

  • Griffin, who was himself a Christian, acknowledges that there are those people who attempt to distort the messages of Christianity to fit their hateful ideology, but this is not the true message of the religion;
  • Unfortunately, what's interesting for us puts Griffin in danger;
  • If Griffin tried earlier, things would have been worse, which is almost impossible to comprehend;
  • Traveling means that we get to see lots of different aspects of race relations between blacks and whites in the South;
  • When Griffin gets news that a white jury rejected a case of a black lynching, Griffin decides to go to the heart of the deep south, Mississippi to check it out;
  • His family is basically run out of town by death threats.

But when you're talking about Martin Luther King Jr. Griffin undertakes his experiment in 1959: Whoa, let's rewind for a second. We're going to give you the hyperfast summary of why racism is worse in the South than in the North. We could write a whole textbook just on this, but right now we're gonna keep it simple.

John Howard Griffin’s Black Like Me: Summary & Analysis

Black people were shipped from Africa to the American South in order to work on plantations growing tobacco, cotton, and sugarcane. This was called slavery. This was awesome because it attempted to rebuild the South after the destruction caused by the war and right the wrongs done to black slaves.

  1. This is not a drama.
  2. But they are memorable because they are either antagonistic or thoughtless to the author, or else kind or sympathetic to him.
  3. He leaves his home in Texas in order to roam through the Deep South. Reaction The reaction to this book cannot be something unemotional.
  4. Many threatened the author and his family.
  5. He had to walk miles to relieve himself. He decides to change the color of his skin and walk in the shoes of a black man in the early sixties.

In case you were wondering why we don't have a happy ending, that's because Reconstruction ended shortly after the death of Abraham Lincoln and was replaced with Jim Crow. Okay, now you're up to speed.

Black Like Me Summary

You might think that, hey 1959 is four years after the civil-rights movement began, why aren't we seeing all of the action, protests, and violence that we associate with that time? Well, Griffin was one year too early for that. In other words, Griffin does this experiment on the cusp of history.

Civil-rights leaders have already been working hard to improve the status of black people in America, and we know that because Griffin even meets some of them. But their efforts won't make it into the national eye until after Griffin leaves the Deep South.

See a Problem?

It's a pretty unique time and place to pretend to be a black man. If Griffin tried earlier, things would have been worse, which is almost impossible to comprehend.

  • Then, when he reaches his destination, Griffin has to lodge with possibly untrustworthy people or in gross, rundown hotels;
  • This setting lets us see just how far back people have come, and just how much farther they have to go;
  • Griffin, who was himself a Christian, acknowledges that there are those people who attempt to distort the messages of Christianity to fit their hateful ideology, but this is not the true message of the religion;
  • Blacks were not allowed;
  • Religion as a Refuge Throughout the book, Christianity is shown as a refuge against the poison of racism.

But just a little bit later, and the struggle for equality would really be heating up. This setting lets us see just how far back people have come, and just how much farther they have to go. It's a little halfway point checkup.