The Intuitionist: A Novel Themes & Motifs

Colson Whitehead
This Study Guide consists of approximately 57 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of The Intuitionist.
This section contains 1,993 words
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Racism

The central theme of the novel is that as long as people, objects or situations are evaluated based on surface appearances, truth and equality will not be reached. Whitehead focuses specifically on the application of this idea to race and race relations: he explores the psychological mindset that results in racism (Empiricism) as well as the mindset which does not (Intuitionism). Whitehead includes both explicit ruminations on the role of race in the society he portrays alongside depictions of these theoretical ideas at play among the characters, thus creating a complete thematic portrait of how race functions in society.

First, he quickly and firmly establishes that the society depicted in the novel is racist and was not only originally structured but is continually controlled by whites. Lila Mae’s unusual position in the department, as well as the discrimination she regularly experiences, are the first examples...

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This section contains 1,993 words
(approx. 5 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The Intuitionist: A Novel Study Guide
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