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Spunk: Kill and Story

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Brianna Walton English 101 What Goes Around Comes Around Men’s role in the eyes of society is to be the head of the house, to provide for the family, and to be physically and mentally strong. They are taught not to show their emotions but to bury them. Society has taught us that the aggressive man will run the bigger business, make more money, eventually have a more successful life. Men who tend to be soft spoken and timid are looked at as weak in the eyes of others as well as in society.

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In Zora Neale Hurston’s “Spunk,” there is a conflict between Joe and Spunk. Spunk is having relations with Lena, Joe’s wife. Joe seeks revenge and Spunk kills him. Ultimately Spunk is killed supposedly by Joe’s evil spirit. The language captures the tone in the story, which strengthens the saying “what goes around comes around”. Spunk is looked at as the town’s hero because he is not afraid of anything and he is physically strong, when in all actuality he should not be glorified by the town’s people because he is nothing but a bully.

Joe is the exact opposite of Spunk, he is physically weak but mentally strong. The purpose of this story is to show that the physically bigger male doesn’t always win. Karma is always out looking for revenge and eventually the man that has spunk will be shown. Spunk is first introduced as a giant brown-skinned man that’s known for his bravery. The town’s people rejoice as they see him even though he is walking arm and arm with someone else’s wife. He is seen as the “ideal” male because he is strong and brave. Joe’s introduction is completely different.

He is immediately looked at as weak by the town’s people because at the mention of his wife you could see the pain he was suffering in his eyes, his face, his hands, and even the dejected slump of his shoulders showed the pain he was suffering from the absence of his wife. It is obvious that Joe is not respected by his peers. Joe pulls out the razor to show them that he plans on killing Spunk, they don’t believe that he has what it takes to kill Spunk. They even go as far as laughing boisterously behind his back as they watched him go into the woods.

The overall tone used in “Spunk” is seriousness and irony. The serious tone is shown when its seen that Joe’s wife is having a public affair: “Now Joe knew his wife had passed that way. He knew that the men lounging in the general store had seen her, moreover, he know that the men knew he knew. ” This means Hurston uses this conflict to create a serious tone in the story. Moreover, a bigger conflict with Joe and Spunk occurs: “Joe came out there wid a meat axe an’ made me kill him. This also sets up a serious tone. Hurston uses this conflict to fuel the next part of the tone in the story. There is also ironic tone in the story ” But Spunk says twan’t no bob-cat nohow. He says it was Joe done sneaked back from hell! ” The author sets this tone up by making the story supernatural and spiritual. The mood in the story that seemed to arise was anger. The first part of the anger is towards Lena. “Lena looked at him real disgusted but she don’t answer and she don’t move outa her tracks. She was cheating on her husband in public. She should have divorced him or fully left Joe, instead of mistreating and humiliating him in public. The second part of the anger is towards Joe. “One could actually see the pain he was suffering, his eyes, his face, his hands, and even the dejected slump of his shoulders. ” The reader wonders why Joe let Lena and Spunk make a fool out of him. For that, the reader is angry at Joe’s timid personality. In “Spunk,” Hurston uses a series of language devices.

The allusion element is vividly used: “Joe came out there wid a meat axe an made me kill him. He sent Lena home and led the men back to Joe-crumpled and limp with is right hand still clutching his razor. ” Hurston sets Spunk up to be an over-exaggerator in the story without saying he is. The author also uses the conversation between the Elijah and Walter to exhibit the distinctive dialogue: “Ah like him fine but tain’t right the way he carries on wid Lena Kanty, jus’ ’cause Joe’s timid about fightin’. This form of down south olden’ days slang give a different edge to the story, that the reader does not experience in modern day. The story displays a dramatic irony: “It was Joe, “Lige that dirty sneak shoved me… he didn’t dare come to mah face… ” This makes the reader say isn’t that ironic. Hurston displays Spunk to be the bad guy he is that killed the good guy, then is killed. In the beginning of the story an allusion is presented to the reader: ” Looka theah folks! cried Elijah Mosley, slapping his knee gleefully. ‘Theah they go, big as life an’ brassy as tacks. ” This gives the reader the conception that there is going to be some drama in the story. The dialogue in this story establishes realism: “Gimme some soda water. Sass’prilla, Ah Reckon. ” The dialect shows the reader the setting is probably during the days when blacks did not have an education or wasn’t really allowed to get educated. The dramatic irony enriches and evokes the central idea: “If spirits kin fight, there’s a powerful tussle goin’ on somewhere ovah Jordan, cause Ah b’leeve Joe’s ready for Spunk an’aint skeered of anymore… Karma gave the illusion that Joe returned and killed Spunk. However Spunk’s guiltiness about killing Joe led him to his fate. The dominant element of “Spunk” is the central idea, karma. Hurston exhibits karma: ” He pushed me ‘Lige-the dirty hound pushed me in the back! ” Spunk Banks was claiming Joe Kanty’s evil spirit kill him. Spunk took Joe’s wife and killed him, nevertheless Spunk died. This is a classic case of what goes around comes around.

Cite this Spunk: Kill and Story

Spunk: Kill and Story. (2018, Mar 03). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/spunk-kill-and-story/

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