An Essay on Richard Gibney’s “The Whipping Boy”
Slavery has always been a debated subject among Americans, and numerous artists, authors, directors etc. have through American history given their take on ‘slavery’ before and after the abolishment. However in recent years the subject of slavery has appeared in several books and films (12 Years a Slave, Django etc.), where most of them describe the brutality, in which, Afro Americans lived. “The Whipping Boy”, does as the others describe the historic brutality, but it also takes a different view that gives a curious reason for the oncoming racism, in the period.
“The Whipping Boy” as many other stories, told during and after the American civil war, takes…show more content…
The foreshadowing as used here gives the story a sense of uncertainty as the fate of our main characters is never revealed, yet through the short story the reader starts to believe in Martha’s disbelief.
While thinking of the short story’s title “The Whipping Boy”, the initial break of Mikey and Sterling’s relationship comes to mind. For a whipping boy is exactly what Mikey becomes, he is used as a scapegoat for Sterling’s misdeeds, and so one imagines it has continued through their lives. However the short story is not called “The Whipping Boy” only because of a past remembrance. Here Mikey’s words of “They’s all bad.” carries a great deal of meaning as later when they are killed they have all in a sense become whipping boys for the Confederate platoon. They become scapegoats for the soldiers’ failure in the war and the failure of the Confederate ideal society; simply put Afro Americans are blamed for the failures of the ‘white man’. The idea of a whipping boy must not only be seen in the perspective of the year 1865. Seen from a historical perspective it gives room to thought that racist organizations such as the KKK in the Southeast used Afro Americans as their “whipping boys” for their own failures in life.
“The Whipping Boy” doesn’t only want to inform us of the brutal circumstances that Afro Americans lived under in the Southeast during and after the civil war. It also wants to tell a