The Man from the Board,
Living as a black man in a white area in the 1980’s, it’s only natural to be suspicious and defensive when a white man from the board shows up and wants to be let in. This is exactly the situation the main protagonist Isaac finds himself in when Mr. Bredenkamp knocks on his door. Isaac is immediately expecting a confrontation but to his big surprise, that is not at all how the conversation plays out. The Man from the Board is a short story written by Richard Rive in 1983. It revolves around the main protagonist Isaac and Mr. Bredenkamp, an official from the board. The entire story is mainly made up of the conversation that ensues as soon as Mr. Bredenkamp enters. The conversation between the two is built up around the fact that Mr. Bredenkamp is there to make Isaac leave, as Isaac is living in a white area, which he is not allowed to. When Isaac discovers who the white man is, he is annoyed and immediately defensive. He doesn’t understand why the board wants him to move and the more the white official tries to explain the reasons why it’s necessary for Isaac to move, the more confused and puzzled Isaac becomes. Mr. Bredenkamp seems to be going in circles, changing the subject randomly, talking about this and that, and never quite reaching his point. For example, near the end when Isaac is expecting Mr. Bredenkamp to officially threaten him that he has to move out, Mr. B suddenly asks Isaac about his life philosophy. “So this was it. This was the showdown. ‘Yes?’ Isaac braced himself for it. ‘What is your philosophy of life?’” This lack of build-up causes the conversation itself to be very outdrawn as it never moves forward. Mr. Bredenkamp never really gets to the point, as every time Isaac asks or answers a question, he remembers an interesting story or something he wants to talk about. The two men have very different views on the conversation. Isaac is constantly waiting for the other shoe to drop and for the official to...
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