The Only Man On Liberty Street

968 Words4 Pages
Throughout the worlds of literature and reality, characters and people alike are faced with choices and their consequences, be they good or ill. A classic, yet ever so difficult choice made by those who reside in works of literature and the real world makes itself extremely well known in William Melvin Kelley’s “The Only Man on Liberty Street”: the war between passion and responsibility. These forces often clash against one another and eventually demand that a choice be made: to follow your heart and forsake your responsibilities and duties, or to stand firm to your responsibilities, even if it means that you may lose that love or passion. The protagonist of Kelley’s work, Maynard, faces this inner conflict and eventually chooses to follow his responsibilities to protect those he loved the most, even if it meant that he would never be able to see them again. The conflict of “The Only Man on Liberty Street” is the choice that Maynard must make: to stay with his love Josie and their daughter Jennie and live with them as a happy family, or to return and stay with his wife that he no longer loves. This conflict not only weighs heavily on Maynard’s thoughts and beliefs, but it also is not a secret affair; this illegitimate relationship between Maynard and Josie is known to not just Mrs. Herder, but also to the community in which they reside. A community in which interracial relationships were very looked down upon and racism was extremely apparent. This led to conflicts between
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