"The Child By Tiger" By Thomas Wolfe

Essay by condourCollege, UndergraduateA, January 2003

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"Insane Slave Murders Citizens!" The headlines would boldly exclaim this phrase if an event such as that happened today. The central event of the plot is a violent action in "The Child by Tiger" by Thomas Wolfe. The author gives significance to the occurrence by making it reveal a general truth about human experience. This universal theme becomes evident through many aspects of the story, which can be analyzed and evaluated to discern their purpose. These following paragraphs will support the judgement that a person in general can contain two worlds inside their psyche: good and evil. If the balance of these two is upset, tremendous or horrible things can happen. When "The Child by Tiger" first begins, Dick Prosser is established as a well-rounded, almost perfect individual. Although he is a slave, that doesn't restrict his amazing talents and abilities. As the story progresses, however, a stark contrast becomes evident in Dick Prosser's presence.

The first indication of the revelation of an underlying theme is the shroud of mystery veiled over Dick Prosser. For example, in the first few pages of this story, a character named Pansy Harris is introduced. She is portrayed as a jovial, good-hearted, Negro woman that assists with the kitchen duties in her owners' home. Her disposition quickly changes to quiet and somewhat mournful upon encountering Dick Prosser. She informs her host family that she is leaving, which seems as if her departure is without any reason whatsoever. Secondly, a dark, enigmatic presence surrounded the narrator when he would see Dick. The narrator (once referred to as Mr. Spangler) speaks of the red in Dick's eyes whenever Dick would emerge from his living quarters. This was presumed to be an "intoxication of the spirit" because Dick was a godly man. The appearance of the worn-out...