Since 1865, African-Americans were released from slavery to which they were no longer the outcasts of society. It was said that African-Americans would be equal, but separate from the white man as W.E.B. Dubois put it, “in all things that are purely social we can be as separate as the fingers, yet [together] as the hand” (460). African-Americans believed that the slave era ended with the Civil War with all its cruelty, but they have not yet acknowledged that the real suppression has just begun; the 20th century has backlashed African-Americans more than when they were in captivity as Africans were excluded socially and economically. Writers like Richard Wright and William Faulkner question the idea of the Negro being free, as their stories, “Almos’ a Man” and “That Evening Sun” contain similar themes of powerless-identity and fear in the modern century; both authors use different techniques to connect with the reader such as regional-confusion and pathos.
In Wright’s story, he depicts Dave as a young boy who seems to be unaware of his social identity as he addresses his own race “them niggers [who] can’t understan’ nothing” (1011). Wright’s technique for his story is the art of regional-confusion, as the reader will not be able to identify Dave’s racial class until a couple of pages ahead; Dave’s name-calling of “them niggers” confuses the reader as typically they would assume the character is white, but if the reader would look in between the lines, they can see that Dave is unlettered. It is clear that Dave comes from an uneducated background and since knowledge is power, Dave is powerless because of his racial class as schooling was only for the white kids. Wright uses this technique not only confuses the reader, but to also g.
. .used to pay Nancy for her service; the powerful characters in the story are white men that control the economy. Faulkner’s dialogue of Nancy and Mr. Stovall suggest that Faulkner’s perspective of African-Americans in the modern century, is that the Negro race is economically un-established. Nancy, Jesus, and Dave are not only powerless because of their identities, but also because they do not have any financial endowment from their race; thus, the Negro race is powerless socially and economically as it results in fearing the white man. In conclusion, Richard Wright’s story, “Almos a Man”, and William Faulkner’s story, “That Evening Sun”, challenge the fact that the Negro is finally free as their modern stories portray black characters with a powerless-identity that are fearful. The white man has shadowed the Negro race as it is excluded socially and economically.