Essay about Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man and Jews Without Money

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Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man and Jews Without Money

To be a minority is a very difficult task. Fighting daily prejudices and trying to establish a unique identity that fits into society at the same time is often one of the hardest things for a “different” person to do. Deciding one’s daily activities and then watching the repercussions of those activities can be discouraging at times. In the novels, The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man, and Jews Without Money, two characters, the narrator and Herman, must fight the establish their own personal identity during a time when each are a minority.

One of the first things a person has to learn in order to find his own identity is the ability to make his own choices. He has
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While finding a unique identity, a person must be careful who he trusts. Giving valuable information to a person who is not trustworthy can lead to destruction. Everything that is worked for may as well be thrown away. Herman and the narrator learned this lesson the hard way. Shortly after arriving in America, Herman started a suspender shop business with his cousin Sam Kravitz. As soon as business was getting good, Herman went on a small excursion. When he returned he found that “[Sam] had stolen the shop” (Gold 109). Everything he worked for was taken away. His chance at his own identity vanished. The same sort of ideal happened to the narrator. He was on his way to Atlanta University when he stayed over at a porter house. Without thinking about it, he left his money and all his valuables in his trunk which was locked. When he returned “a dart of suspicion shot through [his] heart; the arrangement of things did not look familiar…[his] money was gone” (Johnson 44). Just as Herman’s hard earned money disappeared, the narrator’s did as well. They were both left stranded to fight as minority’s empty-handed.

One must not settle for anything when finding out who he is. Just because something is easy doesn’t mean it is the right choice. In order for a person to make a unique place in society and not just conform to what everyone else is doing,
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