Way in the Middle of the Air by Ray Bradbury

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Lauren Grimes
CP English10 – Period 5
Mr. King
Due; December 5th, 2012

Racial Prejudice in America

Racial prejudice is a pessimistic aspect of society that has critically affected many different people around the world. This idea is well demonstrated in Ray Bradbury’s short story “Way in the Middle of the Air”, which is part of The Martian Chronicles (1950). “Way in the Middle of the Air” displays a great amount of inequality and racism within America. This story focuses on the relations of the African-Americans and the white Americans in the South. The African-Americans, other known as “blackies” and “niggers” in the story, are tired of being belittled and treated unfairly by the whites, and so all the blacks in that town decide to pack up and take off on rockets to Mars, in hopes of living a better life not run by the white people. With the word of the blacks leaving town, the white people become not only enraged, but emotional wrecks because they don’t know what they are going to do with themselves without cheap workers and people to abuse. The whites believed that the blacks should be happy because they were finally given the right to vote and the right to have jobs with pay, though in the eyes of the blacks, those rights simply were not enough.

Bradbury sets a sense of arrogance and self-absorption within the white characters in the story, but mostly the main character. The main character was known as Samuel Teece, a white hardware-store owner. He is the man known in the town for his intimidating cruelty towards the “niggers” in the town, along with his ignorance and passionate nature in tormenting the blacks. When he first hears the news of the blacks leaving to Mars, he is filled with doubts and thinks of it as one big rumor; however, when he finally realizes that it is all true, he is enraged and says to his fellow white men, “Telephone the governor, call out the militia! They should’ve given...
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