Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Demographics of protagonists in select short stories by black writers

By Kenton Rambsy

What follows is character demographic information on select short stories in African American literature. My results are based on an approximation of information after evaluating numerous details in the various stories. By reading (and rereading) the following short stories, I was able to come up with character names, sex, and approximate age.

Charles Chesnutt’s “The Wife of His Youth”— Mr. Ryder/Sam Taylor (Male—Approximately 50-60 years of age)

Rudolph Fisher’s “The City of Refuge”—King Solomon Gillis(Male— Early 20s)

Zora Neale Hurston’s “Spunk”—Spunk Banks (Male—Mid 30s- Early 40s)

Zora Neale Hurston’s “Sweat”— Delia Jones (Female—Late 30s- Early 40s)

Richard Wright’s “Big Boy Leaves Home”—Big Boy (Male—13-15 years old)

Richard Wright’s “The Man Who Lived Underground”— Fred Daniels (Male— early to mid 20s)

Ralph Ellison’s “Battle Royal”—Unnamed (Male—17-18 years of age)

James Baldwin’s “Sonny’s Blues”—Unnamed (Male—Late 30s- Early 40s)

Ernest J. Gaines’s “The Sky is Gray”—James (Male—8 years old)

Henry Dumas’s “Will The Circle Be Unbroken”— Probe Adams (Male—Early 20s)

Amiri Baraka’s “The Screamers”—Unnamed (Male—Early-Mid 20s)

Toni Cade Bambara’s “Raymond’s Run”—a Hazel Elizabeth Deborah Parker/Squeaky (Female—10-12 years of age)

Toni Cade Bambara’s “The Lesson”—Sylvia (Female—10-12 years of age)

Alice Walker’s “Everyday Use”—Unnamed/Mama (Female—50s- 60s years of age)

Charles Johnson’s “The Education of Mingo”—Moses Green (Male—Approximately 50 years of age)

Paule Marshall’s “Reena”—Reena (Female—Late 40s- Early 50s)

Toni Morrison’s “Recitatif”—Twyla (Female—8 years of age beginning of story; Late 40s end of story)

Octavia Butler’s “Bloodchild”—Gan (Male—10-18 years of age)

Edwidge Danticat’s “Seven”—Unnamed (Male—37 years old)

Edward P. Jones’s “Old Boys, Old Girls”—Caesar Matthews (Male—39 years old)

A notebook on short stories by black writers

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