Racial Stereotypes In The Ant Of The Self Essay


Racial stereotypes in "Ant of the Self" In Z.Z. Packer's "Ant of the Self," the young protagonist Spurgeon is first depicted bailing out his father from jail. The traditional relationship of father and child is reversed. In the story, the child goes to help the erring parent. The father Ray smokes and calls the police 'pigs' -- a vestige from his history as a Black Panther -- and seems unrepentant about his arrest for drunk driving. Roy has no car, while his son must take control of the situation and drive his mother's vehicle. Spurgeon is dressed professionally for debate, and evidently has his eyes upon a future far different than the one envisioned for him by his father during his more radical days. Rather than support his son's ambitions, Ray asks for Spurgeon's winnings to invest...


"I make myself feel better by recalling that when I went to post bail, the woman behind the bulletproof glass asked if I was a reporter" says Spurgeon to himself (Packer 61-62). This symbolizes how Ray wants to steal his son's legitimate accomplishments for his own, criminal purposes.
The father in the story seems to embody all of the negative stereotypes of African-American black fatherhood. Ray is absent, he squanders his money, and he drinks. His son does not want to be associated with him. Spurgeon speaks in clipped, correct English while Ray uses words like "axed" rather than "asked" (Packer 61-62). Spurgeon is afraid his father is dragging him down and symbolically, Ray drags upon the younger man's arm, causing the car to swerve, as…

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