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Socrates Fortlow, History, and Anna Deavere Smith - Essay Example

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The story “History”, in Always Outnumbered, Always Outgunned, takes a special significance on what can be considered as one of the most concerning and persistent problems of mankind: the social injustices caused by disenfranchisement based on race and culture. …
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Socrates Fortlow, History, and Anna Deavere Smith
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Socrates Fortlow, History, and Anna Deavere Smith

Download file to see previous pages... In Always Outnumbered, Always Outgunned, Walter Mosley responds to the feasibilities for a person who has been incarcerated for a long time to readjust and to play a role in the society. The main character, who is Socrates Fortlow, has been contending with the life after and outside of prison after his release. By means of a series of unified and interrelated events focused on Socrates and his outlook, the reader will stumble across a system of problems, interlocked and tessellated the forms the backbone of the story. Socrates lives in the streets of Los Angeles; and from this haven reflect are the upshots of urban dilemmas such as poverty, crime, discrimination, violence, and white racism. Although Mosley leaves out the limits of mystery in writing this book, he has manifested his knowledge and observation of what really happens in real life; things that are answered by the most common questions: What is my future? Where to go? What to eat? What about racial discrimination? How do I measure up against the White gangster on the streets? These are typical questions that provide answers to what make up human history. In the book, Socrates has to deal with the many complications of human existence, especially among the Blacks in urban Los Angeles.
One particular contention that is being subtly reverberated is how the truth about the severity of street violence, discrimination, and white racism towards the Blacks are reduced by the transition of these real events into texts or videos or whatever medium used to record a historical event. History does not necessarily tell the real events that have occurred in the past. There could be a lot of things that will be lost in translation or be left out deliberately. Nevertheless, the perspective or context in which historical texts are written provide clue to the network of issues or problems that blighted the past, and which can still be in existence up to this moment. Socrates stresses the importance of studying history and literature because it is in the texts that careful thinking is carried out in order to ensure that the voice of the past will still be the voice of the present. The way we understand history is based upon the ideas that we read on historical books; and without them, there is no reason for us to critically imagine about the past. While there are many media that could keep details of history such as videos and pictures among others, oftentimes, these media are misrepresented. This is the point that Anna Deavere Smith would likewise want to stress out: “the video of Rodney King Keating, which seemed to "tell all", apparently did not tell enough, and the prosecution lost, as their lead attorney told me, "the slam dunk case of the century. The city of Los Angeles lost much more” (Smith xxi). Smith believes in the power of literature to be able to reiterate perspectives of the past to the present. However, in the case of Keating, who was a victim of beating, the jury favors to convict him even though the video clearly evokes how he was beaten mercilessly. Smith argues that “what most influences my decisions about what to include is how an interview text works as a physical, audible, performable vehicle. Words are not an end in themselves. They are means to evoking the character of the person who spoke them.” The most ideal thing of using literature as a first medium to record ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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