Clustered story points, code-talking, various elements of the Slave Narrative are all visible in Johnson's "The Autobiography of an Ex-Coloured Man."
Although Johnson's autobiography is not a slave narrative, the post-bellum novel does contain many of the common features of such narratives. One such feature is the loss of family. Johnson recounts the story of the tall man with the hat and shiny shoes who regularly sat with his mother. After a trying event in school where he learns that he is of mixed race, he runs home to ask his mother who his father is. Instead of telling him the man with the shiny shoes is his father, she says she will tell him at another time. It was not until many years later that Johnson is properly introduced to his father. This meeting is so uncomfortable that he ends up leaving, speaking to his father for the last time (although the does see him once more in Paris). Additionally, Johnson is not aware of any other family members in his life and the death of his mother sets in him a great sadness that he only recovers from by attempting to make her proud, even after her death.
Significant also is the Gold Token to a slave narrative. Johnson receives this gift from his father at a young age when the man bores a hole through a ten-dollar gold piece and ties the coin around his neck. As Johnson says:
I have worn that gold piece around my neck the greater part of my life, and still possess it, but more than once I have wished that some other way had been found of attaching it to me besides putting a hole through it. (6)
Additionally, aside from the shiny shoes or boots the man wore, he also carried a gold watch that he allowed Johnson to play with when he was visiting. These pieces of gold set high into Johnson's mind as he tells them in the onset of the... [continues]
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