Brutal Imagination

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Nicholas Artoglou
Brutal Imagination Essay
ENG 102
On October 25th 1994, a lady by the name of Susan Smith strapped her two sons, Michael and Alex Smith, into their car seats and headed towards her mother’s house. But Susan had other ideas and drove to John D. Long Lake instead. When she got there she drove onto a ramp, got out of the car, put the car in drive, and watched her car, with her kids sleeping in the backseat, dive into the lake. The car sank with her two sons strapped in the backseat. After this immoral action she ran to a nearby house and knocked on the door sobbing. She told the owners of the house, Shirley and Rick McCloud, that a black man held her at gun point, and had taken her car with her two boys. This story quickly unraveled into a national headline. Searches for this black man and her two boys were in full affect until on November 3rd 1994, Susan Smith confessed to driving her two boys into the lake. Susan Smith was sentenced to 30 years to life in prison.

Years after the horrific Susan Smith case, Cornelius Eady, a poet, wrote a novel of poems that incorporates the fictitious black man, that Susan Smith created to cover her immoral action of killing her two sons. Eady’s novel Brutal Imagination gives life to “The Black Man” and gives an interesting version of the Susan Smith case through his eyes. Susan Smith’s created character “The Black Man” comes to life and provides his view on Susan Smith, and her inhumane actions.

The novel Brutal Imagination by Cornelius Eady, gives “The Black Man” in the Susan Smith’s case character traits, such as being caring, angry, and he knows he is made up. This monster, “The Black Man”, doesn’t seem like such a monster in one of Eady’s poems. In the poem, “Who Am I?” “The Black Man” seems caring. “The Black Man” says, “If I am alive, then so, briefly, they are” (p.7). This means that if he actually stole the car then the kids wouldn’t be with Susan Smith and she couldn’t have killed...
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