"Just Walk on by" - Brent Staples Essays

1305 WordsNov 5, 20126 Pages
Morgan Allen Ms. Mayo ENG 101-1035 30 October 2012 Just Walk on By In Brent Staples’ essay, “Just Walk on By” the author describes his experiences, feelings, and reactions towards the discrimination he has faced throughout his life as a black man. Staples describes several different personal experiences of when he felt that he had been judged or discriminated against by other people based on the color of his skin and how that contributed to his overall appearance. Staples has continuously been perceived as a danger or criminal simply because of his skin color, leading him to have to deal with many uncomfortable situations. The author has even gone so far as to take precautions when he is on the street just so that he will not be…show more content…
He compares himself to a shadow, helping describe the horrible persona that has been attached to him. He has no way of escaping the dangerous character that people have created for him. He later compares his whistling to cowbells, as a warning to the people around him. Staples whistles sophisticated tunes to lessen his dangerous persona. The use of metaphors is a common practice and it is very effective. Using metaphors as a literary device immediately paints a picture in a audience’s mind and makes envisioning the main character that much simpler. Comparing himself to a shadow connects a reader instantly with his personality and while he may be timid, it is also apparent that he has another side to him that everyone may not be aware of. I feel that the use of these metaphors help to lighten the mood of the essay and creates a more playful feeling throughout the essay. Along in with the author’s use of metaphors is the frequent use of imagery. In this reading, it is simple to envision the scenes as the different scenarios are explained and the audience can easily picture Staples in the places he is describing and also the people he comes across. Perhaps the most powerful and memorable imagery is provided in the author’s description of people’s different reactions and faces when they come into contact with him. Actions speak volumes and an immediate change of facial expression is possibly one of the
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