top-rated free essay

Big Black Good Man

By PaperNerd Contributor Jul 02, 2001 1021 Words
Andrew Weaver Weaver-1 "Big Black Good Man"� In the short story, "Big Black Good Man,"� written by Richard Wright, we are reminded of one of life's little lessons that can be applied to one's everyday life. Most often, it is described as, "do not judge a book by its cover."� This expression teaches the principle that one should not create bias opinions, prejudice thoughts, our premature judgments of someone merely based on their physical features. Though it may seem childish and simplistic, this short story proves that misconceptions that cause false conclusions can arise in all ages of life. The story begins by introducing an elderly man by the name of Olaf Jenson. Olaf works at a hotel that is located near some boat docks in Denmark. A majority of the customers that accompany the hotel are sailors looking for a place to sleep, a woman and some booze. The setting is important because its description helps paint a mental picture in the readers head. The fact that the hotel lies in the shores of Denmark, the reader must picture what kind of characters(tourists/sailors) may be coming in and out of the hotel. The story is told in third person narrative and continuesas Olaf boringly sits at his desk. Then suddenly an extremely large man fills the door way. He is described in the story, "his chest bulged like a barrel; his rocklike and humped shoulders hinted of mountain ridges; the stomach ballooned like a threatening stone; and his legs were like telephone poles"�(Wright 209). This giant frightened Olaf very much as he asked for a room. Stunned by this man's unusual size, Olaf neglected to answer the man's request. Finally, after gathering himself he told them that there was a room that he could stay in. The two men converse and the huge man, Jim, says that he will be staying for almost a week.

Weaver-2 Jim also made a request that Olaf hold a great deal of money of his in the hotel's safe. Olaf completed this task as the man also asked for a whore and a bottle of whiskey be sent up to his room. Olaf did what the man had asked but created a great fear of him because of his enormous size. From the moment that Olaf saw Jim tower over the door he developed a prejudice mentality that developed fear towards Jim. The following night, Olaf returned to work for his shift. At about two o' clock in the morning Jim came to Olaf asking to see the same hooker, Lena, again in his room. This continued every night until the sixth day in which Jim had planned to leave. That night came and Jim had come to pay his bill and get his money from Olaf. The money was exchanged, however, Olaf's sense of fear caused an uneasy feeling between the two men. The scene is described, "then a strange tension entered the office. The office door was shut and Olaf was alone with the black mass of power stood still, immobile, looking down at Olaf.....Olaf was paralyzed. Sweat broke on his face. His worst premonitions about this black beast were coming true. This evil blackness was about to attack him, maybe kill him"�(213). At this point Olaf's worst nightmare has comes true. The giant then grabs Olaf, "he lifted his mammoth hands to Olaf's throat. Olaf had long known and felt that this dreadful moment was coming.........he could not move"�(214). At this point the author has built great suspense in his piece. Olaf is in such fear that he loses control of his bodily functions and urinates in his pants. As a reader, it is believed that everything Olaf thought about Jim were true. It is almost like the reader now holds those bias opinions that Olaf has against this huge black man. He is now seen as the stereotypical bully or the villain of the script. The audience now supports Olaf Weaver-3 as the protagonist of the story. Then suddenly, with Olaf's neck in his hands, Jim lets go of his grip, laughs and leaves. The man leaves and Olaf lives his care-free lifestyle at the hotel. Then about a year after the episode with Jim, the same man returns once more. One rainy night in August, Jim appeared at the hotel, astonishing Olaf once again. In the back of Olaf's mind, he thought of grabbing the gun out of his desk drawer. As the man entered, Olaf told him that there were no vacant rooms to give him. Jim replied by saying that he did not come to find a room. He stepped closer to Olaf, building suspense once more. Then the beast grabbed Olaf's neck like before, but not before Olaf could grab the gun in the drawer. At this point, the reader is full of suspense built by the author. Jim reached for something in his bag, brings it out and says, "'prefect fit'"�(216). Jim had pulled out six nylon shirts for Olaf to have. This point in the story is seen as the climax. The audience is surprised by the swift change in events. The resolution takes place when the shirts are given to Olaf. As it turns out, they are a gift to him for setting Jim up with Lena while he stayed at the hotel. At this point Olaf realizes how foolish he has acted because of his judgments based on Jim's abnormal size. Though Jim was a very large and dark man, he was a kind and gentle giant.

Like most short stories, a moral is often emphasized to teach us helpful hints in life. In this case, it is obvious that one should never judge a book by its cover. In other words, do not make premature judgments or speculations about someone simply based on their physical features. Luckily for Olaf, Jim did not turn out to be the hideous monster that he had thought him to be. Rather, he was just a very large, appreciative man that wanted to enjoy himself during his stay at the hotel.

Cite This Document

Related Documents

  • Big Black Good Man

    ...Small White Old Coward In the short story “Big Black Good Man” by Richard Wright at a dock side hotel in Copenhagen, Denmark during the late 1950’s, our two protagonists meet. Olaf Jensen, a white old man just on the verge of 60, is the night porter. With a long night ahead, Olaf sits down behind his desk, as he’s loosening his shoel...

    Read More
  • Big Black Good Man

    ..."Big Black Good Man" In 1957 Richard Wright wrote "Big Black Good Man" in reference to what had been going on in Little Rock, Arkansas. "Big Black Good Man" is one of many short stories in a collection call "Eight Men" (Reuben). At the time President Eisenhower sent paratroopers to Little Rock to stop the violence over desegregation of the p...

    Read More
  • Big Black, Good Man

    ... Big Black Good Man “Big Black Good Man” by Richard Wright is my favorite story that I have read in English 131 this semester because of its conflicts, characters, and both its verbal and dramatic irony. To start, I believe that the time period in which Ric...

    Read More
  • Big Black Good Man

    ...Big Black Good Man Literary Response The fiction story Big black Good Man written by Richard Wright depicts the meeting of an older man named Olaf Jenson and a young sailor named Jim at a motel lobby by the sea port on an August night in Copenhagen. Olaf, once a sailor himself is now a soon-to-be sixty year old middle class motel concierge. One...

    Read More
  • Big Black Good Man

    ...Big Black good Man and Battle Royal I believe Richard Wright's story "Big Black Good Man" was written in a time when racial prejudice was a major factor in society. In Today’s society we still have racial prejudice, but it is not as strong as back then. The point in which Richard Wright wanted to get by writing this story is that people s...

    Read More
  • Big Black Good Man

    ...Big Black Good Man Big Black Good Man by Richard Wright shows that during the civil rights movement whites decriminated against blacks. And as a big supporter of civil rights, Richard Wright authored a different look on how people were treated back then. By definition, discrmination means the unjust or prejudicial treatment of different categ...

    Read More
  • good

    ...and revengeful nature, as Miller intended in the original play. By adapting the original text to suit a different genre the use of cinematic techniques such as camera angles and Winona Ryder’s use of expression are effective in displaying the key elements of Abigail’s personality. In the play, the initial stage direction introducing Abigail ...

    Read More
  • Big Black Good Man

    ...Big Black Good Man The idea of racism and prejudice has seemingly always been apart of society. Whether it were to be as bad as a full out segregation of schools or just underlying thoughts. In the short story “Big Black Good Man” by Richard Wright. The narrator has a limited omniscient point of view. This gives us great insight into ...

    Read More

Discover the Best Free Essays on StudyMode

Conquer writer's block once and for all.

High Quality Essays

Our library contains thousands of carefully selected free research papers and essays.

Popular Topics

No matter the topic you're researching, chances are we have it covered.