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A Review of the Intuitionist by Colson Whitehead - Book Report/Review Example

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Name: Instructor: Institution: Date: A Review of the Intuitionist by Colson Whitehead The intuitionist is a novel written by Colson whitehead and incorporates many themes. Some of the pronounced themes include politics, racism and technology. Colson brought about these themes by having a storyline that was centered on the life and career of one Lila Mae Watson…
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A Review of the Intuitionist by Colson Whitehead
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Download file to see previous pages Whitehead uses a humorous approach and suitable language for the various references. Funnily enough, he gives no location for the story but through significant features it is thought to be staged in New York. This review is subject to the theme of racism, in which this novel has been seen as a racial allegory and is most relevant. To discuss racism amicably it is in order to first highlight on the main character that spells out this theme. It is through Lila Mae Watson that we see racism coming out strongly. Watson was a black woman whose career was an elevator inspector. She had strong views, and she is described in the book as ever right and an intuitionist. She appears to be inflexible and undergoes a lot of frustrations because of her race. She is also perceived to be the heir of intuitionism from Fulton, a deceased character in the novel who is the supposed founder of intuitionism. She has a clear conscience of the present and the past and keen to discern between the truth and the lies. From the novel, whitehead says that Watson is the first black woman to be an elevator supervisor, and stresses that she is not only the first, but the only black woman supervisor. It is equally crucial to note that Whitehead also claims that she was the second black supervisor after Pompey. By virtue of technicality, we can therefore assume that among the many supervisors, there were only two blacks, male and female. She battles it out as a supervisor among the white colleagues to work in an unfriendly environment. In addition to that, despite being a supervisor, fellow staff would only recognize her when she presented her badge. A related incidence is seen where she and her fellow workmates are in the elevator, and some whites refer to her as a waitress. When people in the elevator laugh at her, this includes her white counterparts. This is a situation quite unheard of among workmates. This clearly illustrates how jobs had bias in favor of a certain race. She becomes a symbol of racial progression. In the restaurant scenarios, Whitehead refers to employees differently though they perform the same duty of service. We see him talk of ‘colored’ helps and ‘white’ waiters in reference to the employees. This differentiation is deeply rooted in racism, and this represents how blacks were disregarded among their equals. There is also a case in Winthrop hotel, where a waitress sneaks individuals of the same skin color or rather race. This illustrates of a purely racial activity that shows rivalry and hate between the whites and the coloreds. We also find that in the same instance, that Watson had been mocked in the elevator, she heads for the kitchen afterwards where the blacks were many. This instills a mentality that certain jobs were mainly left to the ‘coloreds’. This in its own sense is a form of oppression. The issue of intuitionist and empiricist is attributed to the way of doing things. That is the outward meaning. However, if looked in the context of the novel, you would agree with me that, it signifies the blacks’ and whites’ way of doing things respectively. This is supported by that instance where Watson talks of empiricism as ‘whites’ way of doing things’. Also to support this, we can refer to the novel’s beginning where the elevator falls and Watson is interrogated. The interrogation ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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