Black Stereotypes In Stephen Crane's Experiment In Misery

Decent Essays
The tendency to classify a set of experiences and norms into categories has always been universal to the human experience; we create concepts so that we may make sense of the immediate world around us, which allow us to process information efficiently and quickly, giving our lives order and sense. Because what can be categorized and attached with labels are known and familiar to us, their applications separate what is familiar from what is foreign, creating ideological divides and misconceptions that are difficult to overcome. Thus, different cultures are born. From Crane’s work of exploration of a foreign world in “Experiment in Misery”, to Chesnutt’s satirical spotlight on black stereotypes, and Hughes’ not so subtle ridicule of the “liberal…show more content…
To him, the flophouse is a nightmarish establishment with ungodly smells and fiendish sounds of suffering, causing him to lay awake “carving biographies for these men from his meager experience” (Crane, 161). He interprets the simple snoring of the men in the flophouse as the bestial “wail of a whole section, a class, a people” (160); to him, people of the under-class, by virtue of living in run-down flophouses and consuming simple foods, must no doubt all: 1. Be suffering without exception, 2. Exist in such a constant state of misery that their bodies unconsciously “wail” out of pain and suffering even in sleep. The limited collection of experiences and information that formed the Youth’s middle-class culture has conditioned him to generalize all those who belong in the under-class, and believe that poverty must automatically translate to misery, therefore, his venture into this world has only managed to confirm the biases and preconceptions his middle-class culture had given him, and prevents him from any semblance of true…show more content…
While it easy (especially so in Chesnutt’s time) to read Chesnutt’s story as a simple, entertaining African American folk tale, “The Goophered Grapevine” is in fact a subtle comment on the harsh realities of African American life. Through Uncle Julius’ encounter with the narrator and his subsequent story-telling, Chesnutt displays how whites of the time viewed the African American community, as people with little intelligence and of animalistic
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