Shadow and Act - Study Guide Part 1, The Seer and the Seen, Section 2 Summary & Analysis

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"Twentieth Century Fiction and the Black Mask of Humanity" (written 1946, published 1953). This essay begins with a preface printed at the time it was originally published, in which the author explains it was the product of a young man's writing, and that it might have more value presented as such "for it says perhaps as much about me as a member of a minority as it does about literature". The essay begins with an extensive commentary on the consistently shallow, ultimately negative, and small number of Negro characters in American fiction, citing the works of Hemingway, Faulkner, and Steinbeck as examples. He then theorizes about why the Negro in life, in all his complexity and history, is almost always portrayed in fiction as less than fully human (see "Quotes...

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Shadow and Act from Nonfiction Classics for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.