Plurality and Synthesis in The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man
Worrell, Vincent Keith
Mallios, Peter L
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The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man analyses the problems of a racially divided society, refutes the premises of binary racial division, and presents strategies for overcoming societal division. This paper analyzes the employment of structural elements employed to support reception of the narrative message then demonstrates the problem statement, antithesis and synthesis in the text. Plurality is evidenced in the characters Red and Shiny who mediate binary conceptions of whiteness and blackness. The relationships formed between these characters and the narrator forms a model for alliances across the color line. The narrator’s alliance seeking behavior is demonstrated and expanded upon to include mass communication through media and music as a means to achieve synthesis in American society. This thesis expands upon the previous analysis of plurality and demonstrates that Johnson’s text outlines an actionable plan for a new national unity predicated on meaningful criteria to replace arbitrary racial distinctions.