Humanity is being classified as a human being and possessing qualities that are considered human. The authors Flannery O’ Conner and James Baldwin show how the characters possess certain traits. Baldwin writes about the problems of inequality and how African Americans were treated. This brought on the civil rights movement. Baldwin’s writing emphasizes that during that time period, African Americans were treated as if they did not possess the characteristics of humanity. The white Americans were respected more because they were perceived as the superior race.
O’ Conner’s short story “Good Country People” defines humanity as having the traits of consciousness, religion, and intelligence. The story tells about a women who encounters a man, and he is not what he introduces himself as. Hulga Hopewell takes interest in a man, Manly Pointer, who claims the Christianity religion. The man carries bibles and sells them (O’Conner 440). Although Manly presents himself as a religious man, he shows his true character when he goes on a date with Hulga. Since she has a PhD in philosophy, it is assumed that she has intelligence (O’Conner 439). It is tested on her date with Manly as she realizes that he is a fraud and a hypocrite once he admits to her that he does not believe in God (O’Conner 447-48). The traits of humanity that O’Conner display in her story are what the characters supposed to have.
“Going to meet the Man” by James Baldwin show the violence and mistreatment of African Americans. He shows that humans can have evilness, bravery, and emotion. The main character is a sheriff named Jesse. He is racists and does not respect African Americans. The irrational thoughts and behavior of the sheriff represents the cruelty that people can have. He brutally beats a man that was leading a protest and has a flashback of a Black man who experienced a disturbing death (Baldwin 393-94 & 402-03). His thoughts on African Americans are offensive (Baldwin 393). Although they were viewed as not having the qualities of humanity, they did. Their fight for equal rights proves how brave, emotional, and ambitious they are.
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