"Big Boy Leaves Home" Reader Response

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Danielle Wehrle
Reader Response “Big Boy Leaves Home”
“Big Boy Leaves Home” is a story involving a multitude of violence. In the beginning of the story, there seemed to be a power struggle between Big Boy and his friends. They were rough housing with one another until it got out of hand. Big Boy started choking Bobo to the point where his friends were actually fearful for his life. This issue was resolved immediately. Although the boys continued to play-fight, they went on to enjoy the swimming hole.

When the woman down by the swimming hole found the boys trespassing on Harvey’s property, more violence unfolded. When Jim arrived on the scene, he immediately raised his gun and shot Lester and Buck. I find it unbelievable that such racial violence was once tolerated. Although Big Boy and his friends were trespassing on Harvey’s property, it’s very disturbing that Jim’s first instinct was to shoot at the boys because they were black. I feel that Jim’s physical violence resulted from internal violence, like his hatred for blacks. Being raised in the South, at the time of racial intolerance, Jim treated racism as a normal occurrence. Jim’s wife did nothing to stop him from shooting, so I feel she was probably just as ignorant.

The continuation of violence after Jim shot Big Boy’s friends resulted from fear and anger. Big Boy fought for Jim’s gun because he feared for his life, but he also seemed very angry that a white man could get away with killing his friends with no consequences. This doesn’t justify Big Boy killing Jim, but it definitely shows a shift in power. Big Boy was not going to be defeated by a white man that had already killed two of his closest friends.

Unfortunately for Big Boy, there were consequences for killing a white man. A lynch mob set out to hunt and kill Big Boy for his crime. Sadly, nothing was ever mentioned about Lester of Buck again, especially not about the white people. They only cared about Jim because he was one of them. It...
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