The Free-Lance Pallbearers Summary
Ishmael Reed

Everything you need to understand or teach The Free-Lance Pallbearers by Ishmael Reed.

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The Free-Lance Pallbearers Summary

Reed's first novel contains a myriad of stances and positions, all wrapped in a satiric, parodic narrative. Reed develops several themes in The FreeLance Pallbearers, including an examination of what Reginald Martin calls the "oppressive, stress-filled, Western/ European/Christian tradition." Other themes include a parody of the autobiographical style of earlier AfricanAmerican narratives and an examination of the different strata in the black community, especially different kinds of black leaders. Random targets of Reed's satire are the academic community, the debate over the nature and purpose of art, and the American political system.

Nothing, it seems, and no one is safe from Reed's satirical barbs. The black community's various attempts to find a leader to rally behind, for example, are spoofed by the inclusion of a capricious black nationalist character who teaches purity but secretly eats pork, and black ministers who, beneath the piety, run numbers rackets...

(read more from the Short Guide)

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The Free-Lance Pallbearers Short Guide

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