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Free Study Guide-Black Like Me by John Howard Griffin-Free Booknotes
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Theme Analysis (continued)

Theme of Negro Solidarity

A minor theme of the book is the theme of Negro strength and solidarity, even amidst all their hunger and squalor. In spite of their animal like conditions the Negroes do not become like rats or a part of the dog-eat-dog world around them. Even though they are denied education and culture, they do not stoop to the level of becoming savages or barbarians. Even when they are down and out they are never down in the dumps. Many Negroes not only offer the author food and shelter free of charge and for as long as he wishes, but also kindness and courtesy, without asking. Many of the blacks that the author meets, especially in Atlanta, have risen from the ashes to acquire name and fame, but are still very committed to their less fortunate brethren. Thus the strength of the Negroes lies in the fact that they rarely ever lose their sanity or humanity.


Theme of White Sensitivity

Another minor theme in the book is the theme of white sensitivity. The author meets quite a few whites, who are not rabid racists but are in fact very opposed to them. Some, like the journalist East, are even paying a heavy price for this. East and his family are ostracized from society and have to lead a lonely existence. The authorís wife and parents are also examples of such heroism. They stand by him steadfastly amidst all the hate and hostility. There are other public figures, like famous journalists and media men, who tell their story to the world in all its rawness. Finally, there are also thousands of other nameless and faceless whites, who shower the author with adulation and congratulations at his historic experiment in truth. All of them help to sustain the authorís faith in humanity. The book therefore ends with the hope that white racism will not result in black racism.

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