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The individual as representive of society's values - Essay Example

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Name Professor Course 9 December 2013 Social Values Representation: A Case of Lucas Beauchamp and Bigger Thomas Measurement of social and cultural values had been predominant in the past and even today. The need to conform to social values, mores and norms as well as ethics continued to be the primary measurement of one’s value in society…
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The individual as representive of society's values

Download file to see previous pages... Given this issues, this paper will try to look at two parallel stories to identify the social values represented by the protagonists and main characters. William Faulkner’s “Intruder in the Dust” with Lucas Beauchamp as the protagonist and main character and Richard Wright’s “Native Son” which revolves around the life of Bigger Thomas. Looking at the plot of William Faulkner’s story “Intruder in the Dust”, it can be observed that it revolves around the life of Lucas Beauchamp, a black man that is known to mingle among their white neighbors and unlike any other of the black race, he is not afraid to belong in the white man’s world (Faulkner). Similarly, the plot of Richard Wright’s story, “Native Son”, revolves around the life of Bigger Thomas also a black man. Bigger Thomas, unlike Faulkner’s Lucas, is living a lowly life and is not very much favored in his society (Wright). Analyzing the plots of the two stories, it can be noted that they are parallel yet the protagonist and the main character differ in how they act and react in the norms of their respective societies. Among the differences of the two stories include, Lucas having defied the usual perspective and actions of his race and Bigger Thomas having acted what was the white men’s perceived to be actions and reactions of black men towards the situation. However, both plots include murder and both Lucas and Bigger Thomas is accused of the crime. The similarity of some acts in both stories will enable us to compare and contrast the representative social values each of the character possessed and portrayed. Looking in depth, it can be noted that Lucas Beauchamp is characterized in the story as a proud, independent negro with the integrity not to accept payment for the good deed that he showed to others especially to white men. He is considered both by his own race and the white man’s race as a threat to their interests since he considers himself of equal footing to any man and did not conform to the stereotyped role the society dictates a colored man should be. He is also characterized as self-serving as he is only interested in his self-preservation yet in contrast, the story also implied that he is a social being given by his good relationship with Chick and other white men in the story (Faulkner). Bigger Thomas on the other hand grown up under the racial prejudice among his race, hence, considered himself as a marginal being and not capable of doing anything great. His character in the story resorted to committing crimes such as robbery, murder and rape. His very existence is characterized by anger, fear and frustration in his previous and current situation in which he effectively hidden in his tough personality. Unlike Lucas, Bigger Thomas never considered himself of equal footing with his white neighbors and perceived them as constant threat to his survival and oppression to his rights such that he perceived them as entities dictating him his every action and even thoughts. He is also a self-preserver as he resorted to lying and conning in order not be accused of the crimes he committed. However, it cannot be excluded that being black and oppressed, he is not really of bad disposition but only resorted to such things in hopelessness and fear brought about by the racist and ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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