"The Child by Tiger" by Thomas Wolfe is a short story based around a black man, Dick Prosser and the environment of the South. Though the story isn't based on primarily based on racial issues, there is a great deal of tension between the blacks and the whites.
Dick endures racial oppression as a black man in a white community. One example of tension between the two races shown in the story is when Dick has to sit outside of the white church during services. This separation makes the strain of being accepted even harder. He was an incredible black man that had many talents most blacks didn't have. Dick lives as a white man whose skin color marks him as black. Anger boils in Dick as he takes the punches given by Lon Everett, who is drunk. People can have a hidden side to them which can be brought out by the type of environment that he or she is placed in.
Eventually, after society turns their cheek on him, he goes on a killing rampage. Society's pressures are key to his actions. Prosser has a complete loss of innocence. We are shown in the beginning of the story that "there was very little that Dick Prosser could not do." This quote suggests that he was close to being perfect, but on the other hand, it shows the foreshadowing of his violence. All Dick desired was to be accepted by the whites who were the majority of his society, but after a while, he couldn't bear the social wall that separated the two races. His sudden eruption of violence was undetected by the community that had been unaware of the damage they had done. He transforms from being the lamb, a very innocent creature, to a tiger by the end of the story.
The afternoon before the killings, Dick's Bible lay, "face downward on the table," and next to his Bible, Dick's "modern repeating rifle [and] one hundred rounds of ammunition." His skin color displays his impotence and subordinate nature toward the white population. The whites take advantage of Dick's talents, but they can't admit as one of their own. They have preset stereotypes that alter their interracial relationships.
The ending of the story is very significant because it doesn't end with Prosser's death. The end focuses mainly on the whites and how they react to the death. The end concludes that discrimination and false stereotypes need to cease, or else an imperfect society will destroy itself.
"The Child by Tiger" by Thomas Wolfe depicts major comparisons between the blacks and the whites. The story shows the impact of one racial society, the whites, emotionally eating a black man, Dick Prosser.