Throughout history, white males were always identified with power. Not only were white men always superior to women but also they were superior to people of a different skin color. In the play “Fences” by August Wilson, the novel “Devil in a Blue Dress” by Walter Mosley, the poem “Rape” by Adrienne Rich, and the short story “Story of an Hour” by Kate Chopin, a reader may find many examples of empowered white men. In the play “Fences,” Troy, the main character who happens to be a black male, brings up several examples of white men’s dominance.
In a story that Troy tells in the play, the devil, that he tries to fight, is represented as a white business owner who takes advantage of his black customers. Also, he notices that only white men are promoted to driver at his work place. Through out the play, Troy complains about the injustice of a system that favors white men while excluding blacks.
Troy also feels that his dream to play professional baseball was destroyed because of white men, who never gave him a chance to play because of his skin color.
Because he has spent a lifetime being excluded by whites, Troy can not see any advantage for his son when college recruiters come to watch Cory play football. He states, “The white man ain’t gonna let you get nowhere with that football noway” (Wilson, 35). Troy cannot trust empowered white man, and so, he forbids his son to play football.
In the novel “The Devil in a Blue Dress” a reader may find other examples of white males’ racial dominance. The main character, Easy Rawlins happens to experience a blatant racism prevailing at that time.
In the book, white teenage boys try to humiliate Easy and call him “nigger” and “black boy” (Mosley, 99). Mr. Albright, just like any white men in 1940’s who wanted to express superiority, calls Easy a “boy” (Mosley, 147). Also, because Mr. Albright hires Easy, he believes he owns him: “You take my money and you belong to me… We all owe out something, Easy. When you owe out then you’re in debt and when you’re in debt then you can’t be your own man. That’s capitalism” (Mosley, 147-148). Albright uses racial terms pretty easily, and because Easy happens to be a black man who needs the job he needs to deal with it.
Another example of white men in power in the novel is Mr. Carter. As Easy says, Mr. Carter shows “the worst kind of racism” by treating Easy like an equal (Mosley, 166). Mr. Carter, as Easy explains in the novel, does not recognize the racial difference between the two of them. Mr. Carter behaves as if Easy was less than a human being: “Mr. Todd Carter was so rich that he didn’t even consider me in human terms. ” (Mosley, 166). For many ages white men were also always superior to women. One of the examples for that, a reader may find in the poem “Rape” by Adrienne Rich.
In the first stanza of the poem Rich writes that the cop has “one hand touching his gun” (Rich Line 5). That immediately draws attention to the policeman as the symbol of power and control over the woman. The main point that Rich is trying to express through this, is that the cop has the power and the cop is a man, therefore the cop can be compared to the rapist himself. Through the investigation the cop is taking the woman’s security and reputation from her just as forcefully as the rapist committed his crime on her.
In the poem Rich writes, “you are guilty of the crime of having been forced” (Rich Lines 14-15), which is echoed again in line 25, “what you secretly wanted. ” These two lines demonstrate how even though the woman is a victim, the policeman, a figure of authority, treats her as she has deserved the punishment that came her way. In the short story “The Story of an Hour” by Kate Chopin, a reader may find another example of men’s superiority over women. In the story, the main character, Mrs. Mallard, gets the message about her husband’s death.
The narrator notes that her reaction to the message is not usual for a woman who just lost her husband. She does not feel paralyzed or unable to accept his fate. Ironically, her husband’s death makes Louise feel alive for the first time. Louise realizes that “there would be no powerful will bending hers in that blind persistence with which men believe they have a right to impose a private will upon a fellow-creature” (Chopin, 124). Chopin seems to be making a comment on nineteenth-century marriages that granted the man a right to own and dominate the woman.
Louise had been repressed by her husband, losing her sense of identity. Bending to her husband’s will had left her so depressed that she longed for a short life. His death allows her to ponder not just her own life, but also the position of women in general. The history was very kind for a white man. It was always white man who was in power and had superiority over opposite sex, women, as well as men of a different skin color. Fortunately, this image of an empowered white man, still visible in today’s society, begins to change.
Woman and man of a different race start to be treated equally and by law are given equal rights and opportunities. If only those laws were applied couple of decades earlier, lives of the main characters mentioned above would be a lot easier.
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