Middle Life Analysis: Arc of Justice

1902 Words Jul 14th, 2018 8 Pages
Middle Life Analysis; Arc of Justice “American cities didn’t simply sparkle in the summer of 1925. They simmered with hatred, deeply divided as always” (Boyle, 2005, p. 6). Life was extremely difficult for African Americans during the early 1920s; a period of time that was better known as the segregation era. In the book Arc of Justice, written by Kevin Boyle, the words “racism” and “segregation” play a significant role. Boyle focuses in the story of Ossian Sweet, a young African American doctor who buys a house in a white neighborhood in Detroit back in 1925. After Dr. Sweet’s arrival to their new home, he and his family suddenly become threatened by a white mob that is formed against their arrival. Dr. Sweet and his …show more content…
However, Erikson’s seventh psychosocial stage is better used to explain Sweet’s life outcomes because of his negative life experiences. Erikson’s seventh psychological stage is called “Generativity vs. Stagnation”. Generativity is focused on the concern for the family and society in general whereas stagnation expresses someone’s discontent with life, reflects poor psychosocial outcomes of an individual and that individual is usually characterized by having low tolerance (Zastrow & Kirst-Ashman, 2007, 444). In Arc of Justice, Boyle provides several examples of Sweet’s middle age, which was being ruled out by a stagnant behavior. Sweet’s stagnant behavior did not start to showing up until his middle age where he was actually in the middle of his trials. A more specific example of his stagnant behavior was seen during his first trial when Sweet agreed to testify out of pride, at this point, Sweet, “had become the representative of his race and the champion of its rights- and, as always, out of obligation” (Boyle, 2005, p. 288). Sweet soon became fully stagnant when he started doing only what his lawyers, friends and colleagues wanted him to do. Sweet once expressed, “I have to die like a man or like a coward” (Boyle, 2005, p. 289). These words only prove his egocentric way of thinking and manifest the pride that lived within him. Because of Sweet’s stagnant behavior, he soon started
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