Miss Cynthie and City of Refuge Comparison Essay

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Pedro Rodriguez
Exam #1
The Great Migration reshape of American History
Rudolph Fisher in the story Miss Cynthie and City of Refuge does a great job by exploiting the different characters of the Great Migration. For example, for immigrants that has just arrived to Harlem Fisher highlights Miss Cynthie and Gillis. For immigrants that are established in Harlem Fisher highlights two characters headed in two different directions; one is David an established artist, second is Uggam a person involved in illegal activities. All of these serve the purpose of reporters for the reader to get a deeper knowledge of the life during the Great Migration.

When Miss Cynthie arrives to the city of New York she is flabbergasted at the decorum that she is shown. We see this when the red cap gentleman calls Miss Cynthie madam something that she have never heard in Waxhaw. In the book Miss Cynthie tells the red cap gentleman “you liked to took my breath back yonder, boy, callin’ me madam. Back home everybody call me Miss Cynthie”…Well, you see, we call everybody madam”(page 36-37) Miss Cynthie is astound that in New York people show so much respect to others; her perspective of the city has already changed. At first she expected that the way that she was going to be greeted was similar to how she is greeted in Waxhaw; as Miss Cynthie not as madam. You can further read of Miss Cynthie dubious perspective towards the city during her conversation between her and the young man. The young man tells Miss Cynthie “There aren’t any snakes in the city”. “There’s snakes everywhere, chile”. (page 35) This paradoxical exchange between Miss Cynthie and the gentleman exposes how oblivious both are to each other’s background. The gentleman is talking about actual snakes and Miss Cynthie is referring to burglars. There are major discrepancies between the lexicon of people in Waxhaw and New York. Miss Cynthie meanwhile, already has a pre-determined assumption that the city like her town of Waxhaw will have burglars. Another assumption that you can read that Miss Cynthie has is that in order for a person to be successful they must be a doctor or an undertaker. We read about this interaction when Miss Cynthie is talking with the red cap gentleman. Miss Cynthie says “But he’s done succeeded at sump’m. Mus’ be at least a undertaker, “cause he started sending’ the homefolks money, and he come home las’ year dressed like Judge pettiford’s boy what went off to school in Virginia.”(page 36 – 37) Miss Cynthie’s perspective as the new immigrant into the city is that if you are a successful person that you must have become successful because you are a doctor or an undertaker. Miss Cynthie’s believes that is the only possible way that David must have become successful. Miss Cynthie’s perspective is very narrow in which she believes that Doctors and Undertakers are the only ones that can be as wealthy as David. Miss Cynthie’s perspective of Dave’s career is look down upon once she finds out what Dave has actually become. She has a pre-determined assumption that the crowd watching the show must not be following the acts of God. We see this when in the story it states “She sat with stricken eyes watching this boy whom she’d raised from a babe, taught right from wrong, brought up in the church, and endowed with her prayers, this child whom she had dreamed of seeing a preacher, a regular doctor, a tooth-doctor, a foot-doctor, at the very least an undertaker—sat watching him disport himself for the benefit of a sin-sick, flesh-hungry mob of lost souls, not one of whom knew or cared to know the loving-kindness of God;” (Page 45) Miss Cynthie’s perspective is that if you are dancing and exploiting yourself in this form, then you must be worshipping the devil. She also has determined that the audience does not have any interest in appreciating the work of the lord. Furthermore, we read once again of Miss Cynthie’s interest of having her son seek a career that would bring...
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