Race & Ethnicity in American literature
Double consciousness is highly present in Mosley’s writing. A clear example is how the character of Easy Rawlins is constantly comparing himself with white people and looking at himself through imagined white people’s eyes, particularly in his strivings to prove himself as an adult and a man. “I felt as good as any white man, but if I didnt’ even own my own front door then people would look at me like just another poor beggar.”(Chapter 1, p.4) Easy is proud and fierce, but he is still working hard, making a conscious effort, not to bend to the whims of others – it is not yet something that comes naturally to him, and several times he reflects on his development toward manhood. One interesting example of this is “the voice”, which represents manhood, rationality and activeness, and which appears in stressful situations, as when saying “You gotta stand up, man. Lettin’ these people step on you aint right” on p. 46, chapter 14.. There is an abundance of physical violence in Devil in a blue dress, as could be expected of a crime novel. The purpose of this violence, however, seems to be more than thrilling the reader. The violence depicted also works to create a certain image of the community and city that Easy lives in. Further, it works to distance Easy from certain other characters such as Mouse or Mr. Albright; in contrast top them, Easy is disgusted by violence and prefers to avoid it when possible. “I had seen a lot of death in the war but Navrochet's dying seemed more real and more terrible; it was so useless.”(p.14, chapter 4) The novel’s setting is, to me, quite central to the themes it explores. Easy’s investigation becomes not only a search for Daphne, but also an investigation of the structure of society/the city and it’s built in violence. In one way, the novel is a from-below depiction of black Los Angeles in the forties; its insides and contrasting outsides. Easy’s journey also starts in his own community and...
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