Like a Winding Sheet

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Essay Database > Literature > English
In Ann Petry’s 1945 short story “Like a Winding Sheet”. Johnson is a black male struggling with racism and societal pressures. Johnson faces many challenges. As one reads, one cannot help but feel his anger, frustration and tenseness. Petry tells it in the following way, “The knowledge that he had struck her seeped through him slowly and he was appalled but he couldn’t drag his hands away from her face.” Petry goes on further …

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…is enough to drive him to his limit and strike Mae uncontrollably. Johnson’s struggle with his job and society makes it easy for him to blame racism, when in fact, these event may not have anything to do with him being black. I believe Johnson does not know how to deal with the stress he faces. Giving the time era Johnson lives one can’t blame him for the racist thoughts he acts out.