Thomas Grady Bunch
Dr. Donald Tompkins
April 8, 2010
1. What, in your opinion, did Baker hope to accomplish as a result of his conversation with Rennalls? Did he succeed? Why or why not?
Baker hoped to be able to get Rennalls to admit his resentment towards other races, specifically Europeans. I feel that his purpose was to get it out in the open so that it could be discussed, and thereby dealt with before he took on the job of chief engineer, a role that would require equitable and amicable treatment of subordinates from races other than his own. After the first reading of the article, I was under the impression that Baker was between a rock and a hard place, due to the fact that it was not just his own perception of Rennalls' behavior, which he may have been able to overlook, but the perception by all Europeans working for the company that Rennalls had a race consciousness problem. The complaint of Martha Jackson, and a conflict with Godson, another employee, helped to lean my assessment in that direction.
After rereading the article, it appeared that most of Baker's assessment of Rennalls' racial attitudes were of concern only to Baker himself, and his desire to get Rennalls to verify his own (Baker's) opinion had rather become a mild obsession. Baker admitted in his introspective ramblings that Rennalls "had an ease of manner that stood him in good stead when dealing with his expatriate seniors." But Baker also acknowledged the pride that he personally took in interacting with people of all nationalities, and was a bit perplexed why he had not been able to eliminate a perceived barrier between himself and Rennalls.
Baker went against his better judgment by not ending the interview earlier. Though he finally achieved what he had started out to do, getting Rennalls to verify that there was a repressed animosity towards Europeans and European society as a whole, Rennalls'...