Book Review: A Different Drummer

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Malik Brumant
Tucker Essay

Ralph Waldo Emerson, who led the transcendentalist movement of the mid-19th century, once wrote, "The virtue in most request is conformity. Self-reliance is its aversion." The Transcendentalist were a group of people who believed that everyone was equal and had power inside them as an individual. In the mid-19th century Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, and Walt Whitman were the main writers and thinkers of the transcendentalist movement. In the 1960's as African American's fought for civil rights in a cruel society. William Melvin Kelly combines the two in the book "A Different Drummer." This book tells the story of Tucker Caliban, a black farmer who encourages a huge amount of blacks to leave the south when he decides to salt his crops and burn down his house and leave. Tucker embodies the characteristics of a Transcendentalist according to Emerson, Thoreau, and Whitman in three ways: he does what he wants without an explanation, he's self-reliant, and he fights a corrupt system in his own way.

Tucker does what he wants without an explanation or logic. Tucker stays out all night to teach Dewey how to ride a bike, even though his grandfather would be mad. Tucker also burned his house down and salted his crops without explaining this to his wife or to anyone else. Tucker writes Dewey a letter in college, he ask about the bike he taught him to ride. Dewey doesn't understand why because Tucker really didn't explain what he wanted to know about the bike. This shows Tucker really doesn't tell anyone his logic behind his actions. "To be great is to be misunderstood", Emerson. This quote refers to Tucker because he is misunderstood by the whites. This shows he's also self-reliant and free spirited.

Tucker Caliban is self-reliant and unique. Tucker self taught himself to farm and ride a bike. He also doesn't believe in the civil rights movement which most other blacks strongly believe in. He also believes...
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