A summarry of Ann Petry's ''Like a winding sheet''

Essay by MugatuUniversity, Bachelor'sA, April 2004

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LIKE A WINDING SHEET

Like a Winding Sheet, written by Ann Petry in 1945, is a story that begins with a black man's tough day at work, but takes a twisted turn. Johnson comes home after a hard day planning to kick his feet up and enjoy a relaxing evening at home with his wife, Mae. The bad sense of humour Mae possesses begins to send Johnson over the edge and suddenly, something in him snaps. Johnson brutally beats his wife, quite possibly killing her. This story is very shocking, exposing to us a reality of our society, racism. In this essay I will try to show you that racism, specially in the United-States, can be a source for an imprisonment feeling for individuals, in this case, the black community. I will first show you how Johnson might have felt imprisoned at work, then at the café, and finally I will show you that the general pressure made on John was the reason for his final burst of violence.

First, it is shown in the text that John has difficulty getting up in the morning. Though it is implicit, I think this shows that John has a problem, that he is uncomfortable in the world and knows it will painful to once again go work at his oppressing job. He then gets up and arrives at work late. When his boss notices his being late, he yelled at him and made him feel look nothing. This passage lets us know that John's workplace is very oppressing. The workplace is a very social environment, being black, John must feel oppressed because of the way people act in general with him. Also, being black, he probably has to do more then other white people. John had to live with these inequalities...