1. Bennett “Wedding Day” pg.511 and Grimke “Goldie” pg.174-How does racism dictate the way Paul Watson and Victor Forest live their lives?
Racism affected all spheres of life of the US society in the time when the action of short stories Wedding Day by Bennett and Goldie by Grimke takes place. In this respect, it is possible to refer to the lifestyle of the main characters of short stories, Paul Watson and Victor Forest respectively. In fact, both characters are subjects to racism and racial discrimination. They are eager to escape from the racism they suffer from and rebel against it but they are unable to change social norms and public consciousness. In spite of their physical power, especially Paul Watson, they still are incapable to resist to the overwhelming impact of racism and racial discrimination on their life.
In this respect, Paul Watson is particularly concerned with the physical struggle with racism. In fact, he cannot control his actions because his hatred toward white people is stronger than him. He cannot control his actions and he attempts involuntary hit a white American he ever encounters. As the author writes, he “never passed the lips of a white man without the quick reflex action of Paul’s arm and fist to the speaker’s jaw” (Bennett, 39). Remarkably the author does not give insights toward actual causes of such hatred toward white Americans from the part of Paul Watson but it is obvious that the historical context and his life experience made Paul so hostile in relation to white Americans. He probably fled to France because of offense and abuse he suffered from white Americans in the US. In Paris, he just hunts them down instinctively. He lives in the constant hatred to white Americans and feels his inferiority because even his marriage failed because of his blackness, while the woman he loved was a white, who just used him to improve her financial position.
To understand reasons for and causes of Paul’s hatred in relation to white Americans, it is possible to refer to the short story “Goldie” by Grimke. The main character of the short story, Victor Forest lives in the racist society and he is pursued by whites as a mere animal. He cannot rebel against the existing social order or disobey to rules established by the whites. Any attempt to disobey will lead to one and the same end – death of an African American. In this regard, Victor Forest ends his life as other African Americans, who have dared to disobey to rules of the whites: “And Victor Forrest died, as the other two had died, upon another tree.” (Grimke, 72). In such a way, the author shows that Victor Forrest became the victim of lynching. In all probability, Paul Watson has had a similar experience, when he was in the US or witnessed one. Hence, his hatred to white Americans is so strong. In fact, the hatred to white Americans is the uniting factor for the two characters of two different stories. Racism defines their lifestyle because they live in the hatred and in the superior attitude to them from the part of white Americans. What is more important, there is no escape from this racism. For instance, even though Paul Watson fled to France, located on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean, but he failed to escape from racism which ruined his personal life even in Paris. As for Victor Forest, he dies because of racism.