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'Blackout' is a short story by Roger Mais. It is set in Jamaica and is about racism and the contrast of two different races, sexes and cultures!

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Introduction

Name: Kaan Kalipci Stimulus: Blackout Critical Analysis Draft 2 06/02/03 Wordcount: 1414. 'Blackout' is a short story by Roger Mais. It is set in Jamaica and is about racism and the contrast of two different races, sexes and cultures! The story starts off explaining the blackout in the city and the general atmosphere of uncomfortable and tense over the city. At this point the story builds an expectation of some sort of conflict. An American women was waiting at a bus stop. Suprisingly she was not bothered by the darkness, and she was not nervous. A black man slowly approaches her and asks for a light for his cigarette. As she does not have matches she offers her cigarette and as he thanks her she flicks the cigarette away. She does that because she is disgusted that a Black man touched her cigarette and therefore she doesn't want to smoke it anymore. After the flicking, there's a moment of discomfort and she asks him why he was still there. He replies with an apology as a comment on her action. He stays and keeps talking about her apparent wealth and as he talks she becomes more uncomfortable. The conversation between the two then focuses on gender and race. At that moment the reader can sense that actually the woman is interested in the current situation and she might actually be looking for an adventure, but he tells her that she is not his type of women which undermines her. ...read more.

Middle

The story has two characters; the man and the women. They are very different from each other both in terms of character and physical. The man is a poor black Jamaican, and the woman is a wealthy white American. Their nationalities can also tell a lot about their characters. American, arrogant (superior), and Jamaican, like most of the people in third world countries, dignified. As the story develops, the woman gets adventurous about everything, the blackout, the man, the conversation. Words such as; novelty, intrigue, any sort of adventure, tropical islands prove this point and emphasize her actions, behavior and thoughts. Throughout the story, there are no names for those people, instead they are referred to as the man and the woman. The reason is that those two are complete strangers and they represent the general behavior of men and women around the world. It is the universal application to men and women in general. Again in the story the word 'Black' is always capitalized like a proper noun to show that the man is one of its kind and to respect him. Even though the reader gets the feelings of the women, and her interpretation of the man's attitudes, the story is not told from her point of view. It is a third person narrative. ...read more.

Conclusion

That unexpected comment makes her undermined and emotionally damaged. The reader is also shocked and appreciates the man rejecting her because it makes the reader think that man is more superior, it also makes the women feel and seem less important and attractive than both the reader and herself thought she was. At the end of the story, the woman gets on the bus and at the same time the man is picking up the cigarette. This shows how poor and desperate this man is. He is very poor and he doesn't have enough money to buy cigarettes so he collects the ends of them from the streets. It is also contrasting because during the story this picture was painted in our heads about the man that he was very great and wise, and even though him picking up that cigarette doesn't change the fact that he is still very smart and logical the reader starts to pity him. This shows how different two cultures can be and how different their reactions to events can be. Also the man playing around with the woman and making her uncomfortable is a new way of defense for negros because the expected was for him to get mad and start shouting at her but instead he shows her that even though he is different he is more of a human than she is. ...read more.

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