It is a vivid fact that the feelings of cruelty, discrimination and racial distribution are embedded well in to human nature since its very inception. This world depicts several cases where humans treat other humans like animals and ignore their right of living peacefully and according to their own will. This article highlights the work of several writers who have depicted the different ways in which humans have been treated brutally by other humans. Majority of the cases deal with racial discrimination and poverty-based cruelty issues encountered by humans. The article presents an in depth analysis of the works of seven different writers and how their works represent the ill treatment encountered by the human race.
Charles Chestnutt's "Po Sandy" and its Linkage to Human Cruelty
"Po' Sandy" written by Charles Chestnutt is basically the story of Sandy, who is made the slave of his master's relatives, due to which he is unable to maintain the relationship with his wife. His wife was a conjurer who agrees in transforming him into a pine tree. This transformation resulted in several problems for Sandy, yet his wife did it so that he cannot again be forced to leave his home. Unfortunately, his wife is called away for a short time period and during that Sandy is chopped down. Sandy is chopped down into pieces for making the new kitchen of his master, upon the return of his wife. The kitchen was converted into an old schoolhouse later on. Sandy's wife was shocked upon his husband's death and died on the floor of that schoolhouse out of her husband's grief. Annie was so much disturbed by this story that she refused to use any old lumber from the schoolhouse (Chestnutt 50).
In this story, Chestnutt is basically satirizing the whites. The story portrays slavery as a crucible that placed black people under almost unbearable psychological pressures, eliciting from them tenacity of purpose, firmness of character, and imaginative ingenuity in order to preserve themselves, their families, and their community. Chestnutt depicted the fact that blacks can easily attain their own motives by simply beguiling the whites. Thus Chesnutt portrays blacks possessing greater intelligence than many at the time accepted. Thus, the story "Po Sandy" relates to the domain of cruelty toward humanity in the sense that black Africans were actually made slaves of the white Americans in ancient times, who treated them badly. The story depicts the harshness and brutality encountered by the black Africans during the tenure of their slavery.
Criticism on the Works of Charles Chestnutt
Majority of the works of Charles Chesnutt revolved around racial issues. His works encountered great deal of criticism as they revolved mainly around social controversial issues of that time. One of his initial masterpieces that became popular was, "The Goophered Grapevine" is a depiction of the African slave culture to the white Americans and comprised of tales about black hoodoo practices and beliefs. "The Conjure Woman" is another writing masterpiece by Charles Chestnutt which described the struggle between cruel slaveholders, and the ill-natured and witty clever slaves. Chestnutt's stories like "Sis' Becky's Pickaninny," "Mars Jeems's Nightmare," and "Hot-Foot Hannibal" depict the way in which slaves are prone to the will and power of their masters only (Stephin 20). "The Wife of His Youth and Other Stories of the Color Line" is another work of Charles Chestnutt which comprise of nine stories based on the social issue of miscegenation in America. Not only this, the book also highlighted issues like segregation, mob violence and white racism. The book encountered a harsh criticism as many reviewers were bothered by Chesnutt's excessive concentration on issues such as segregation and miscegenation.
Chestnutt's novel entitled "The House Behind the Cedars" presented the issue of racial identity. Chesnutt advocated the right of mixed races to be accepted on equal terms with whites through his commendable writings. Charles in his second novel used the opportunity to address pressing racial issues, which was entitled "The Marrow of Tradition." This novel was based on the Wilmington, N.C., race riot of 1898.
He was the first writer to make the broad range of African-American as he highlighted each and every issue and problem pertaining to the American color line which was essentially in need of literary attention.
Lisa See's "Snow Flower and The Secret Fan"
"Snow Flower and the Secret Fan" is a novel set which presents the tale of two laotong, or sworn sisters with a bond stronger than marriage, begins in the girls' childhood as they experience foot binding together. The two are extremely close and share a special kind of Chinese writing called Nu Shu, which is actually a language created by women and for only women. Lily belongs to a low class family but she is able to marry much higher than her social station into a rich family as her feet are considered small and beautiful. After marriage, Lily is blessed with three sons and one daughter, which is considered particularly auspicious for women in China at that time. On the other side, Snow Flower, was born with a silver spoon in hand as she belonged to wealthy parents but unfortunately she married a butcher, which is socially considered a very poor position. Her life was made miserable by her husband as she was beaten a lot by him and she lost a couple of her children as well. Lily at one point becomes suspicious of Snow Flower. She thought that Snow Flower had betrayed her trust and she thus told her sisterly secrets to a group of women. This ultimately resulted in destroying the woman's face, or image in public which was regarded as a horrifying thing in Chinese society, specially. Towards the end of the story Lily tended to Snow Flower as she died (Ho 200).
This book relates to the domain of cruelty of humans towards each other as it presents the detailed treatment of the suffering which Lily and Snow Flower experienced in their laotong relationship. Lily's thirst for love and her inability to forgive what she considers to be acts of betrayal cause her to immensely harm many people. Snow Flower encountered the greatest loss due to Lily's act of betrayal. Believing that Snow Flower has not been true to her, Lily betrays her by sharing all her private secrets to a group of women, virtually destroying Snow Flower's reputation.
Several aspects of human suffering are depicted well in this novel by Lisa See. The novel portrays well the physical and psychological pain of foot binding and the sufferings encountered by women of that time who were treated as a property. The cruel practice of foot binding begins in girls at the age of 8 years and requires six-month for completion. The process requires the breaking up of all the bones in the toes. The process resulted in taking the lives of ten per cent of the girls who underwent this cruel and harsh process. The purpose of foot binding is to make the girls more attractive as marriage partners and as submissive daughter-in-law. The novel depicts the very degrading way in which women were treated in China in this period. The Chinese women giving birth to female children were considered worthless and rubbish in the society at that time. In this novel of Lisa See, when Snow Flower's husband beat her violently in one brutal scene, she miscarried her child. Her husband justified his action after the fact by saying that the child would probably had been a girl. Thus, this novel by Lisa See presents several acts of brutality and cruelty towards women prevalent specifically in the Chinese society in those times.
Criticism on the works of Lisa See
The popular mystery collection of Lisa See comprises of works "Flower Net," "The Interior," and "Dragon Bones." Lisa See's novels "Snow Flower and the Secret Fan" and "Peony in Love" focus on the lives of Chinese women in the 19th and 17th centuries respectively. "Peony in Love" and "Shanghai Girls" revolve around the potent bonds of mother love, romantic love, and love of country. "Peony in Love" portrays the bonds of female friendship, the power of words, the desire that all women have to be heard. Lisa See amicable highlights the emotions that are so strong that they transcend time, place, and perhaps even death.
Tupac Shakur's "The Rose that Grew from Concrete"
"The Rose that Grew from Concrete" is a collection of poems written by Tupac Shakur which are compiled in the form of a book. These poems focus on mature topics ranging from sex, drugs, violence to political views and death. The poems in the book have a common theme revolving around having ambitions and goals and reaching them despite the unfavorable and harsh circumstances. This ultimately manifests the core goal of keeping hope even in the darkest situations. The book provides a glimpse into Tupac Shakur's enigmatic life and its intense contradictions. The poems are…