Analysis Of The Book ' The First Letter '

956 Words Aug 21st, 2015 4 Pages
People that have helped Layton “see” that which he had not seen, “love” what he once considered unlovable, and “be” in an often imperfect world are his mother, Aunt Sue, his Grandmother, Uncle Jimmy, friends, people he encounters in his life, and famous black individuals. There are many that are found in the book.
In the first letter to Uncle Jimmy is where the reader finds that Uncle Jimmy was an important figure that helped Laymon. The reader discovers this when he said, “I didn’t want you to know that I wanted you to be better at being human” (Laymon 19). He also mentions, “I was in desperate need of echo and I’d convinced myself that the only way to live was to write through what was helping me to kill myself” (Laymon 20). Layman juxtaposes moments of his struggles with black masculinity with the memory of his Uncle Jimmy’s death. He relates to his Uncle. His path is the same that his Uncle led. While he reflects his life and his Uncle’s life, he sees things like black suffering and injustice. He loves his uncle whom never uttered an “I love you” to him. Layman starts the book with describing one African American’s suffering. This is a sobering pivot toward Laymon’s personal story, where he talks about black masculinity, his own family, New York, Mississippi, ritualized violence, Hip-Hop, Jackson, and the word in general “black.”
Furthermore, the reader sees the people that help Laymon when he piles up stories against one another. He tries to point out how each story…
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