Denne webbog hjælper dig med analyse af novellen "The Baddest Dog in Harlem" af Walter Dean Myers, som var en del af den skriftlige eksamen i Engelsk A på STX fra marts 2013, hvor spørgsmålet lød:
Write an analytical essay in which you analyze and interpret “The Baddest Dog in Harlem” by Walter Dean Myers.
Part of your analysis must focus on the setting and the tone of voice. Draw parallels to “American Skin (41 shots)” by Bruce Springsteen.
I guide hjælper vi dig med analyse, fortolkning og alle de øvrige elementer i opgaven, som du kan have brug for hjælp til.
Præsentation af teksten
Title: “The Baddest Dog in Harlem”
Forfatter: Walter Dean Myers
Walter Dean Myers (1937-2014) var en afro-amerikansk forfatter af børne- og ungdomsromaner. Hand mest velkendte værk er Fallen Angels (1988), som er en realistisk beskrivelse af krigen i Vietnam.
Novellen "The Baddest Dog in Harlem" handler om politivold og om vilkårene for afro-amerikanere fra områder med blakket ry, såsom Harlem, New York. Historien har ikke mistet sin relevans i dagens USA, hvor skyderiet i Ferguson, Missouri er frisk hukommelse. Novellen illustrerer en tendens fra politiets side til at have en mere mistænkelig holdning over for afro-amerikanske borgere sammenlignet med hvide - en skepsis, der er aktuel i dag.
Nedenfor kan du læse et kort uddrag af vores analysehjælp, som også giver dig et indtryk af novellens litterære kontekst.
The short story is a post-modernist literary text. Most literary texts written after World War II to the present day are considered postmodernist as they tend to focus on issues related to post-WWII societies and individuals.
Some general features of post-modernism are considered to be meta-fiction (fiction about fiction), fragmentation (disrupted chronology), the unreliable narrator, irony, playfulness, black humor, minimalism and maximalism (very few detail versus abundant details), etc.
In this short story, we can notice irony and black humor, as well as a tendency towards a maximalist style, as the narrator provides extensive details in his description of the events.
The way I see it, things happen on 145th street that don’t happen anywhere else in the world.
What kind of things happen on the fictional street that Myers has created in his short story collection: 145th Street? Some are hilarious such as those recounted in Big Joe’s Funeral and in The Streak. In the first, Big Joe decides to cancel his life insurance, collect eighteen thousand dollars, and throw himself a funeral the way people throw a party. Peaches doesn’t think Big Joe should mess around with death, which isn’t a conflict that seems as if it would be all that funny. Except after Peaches puts up a sign “Big Joe is not dead,” she runs into Mother Fletcher who agrees by saying, “You’re right, child. The flesh fades but the spirit lives onto his eternal reward.” No one else listens to Peaches either, believing instead that Big Joe is truly dead, and the subsequent events which unfold are a hoot. In the Big Streak, Froggy blows a basketball game for his school, accidentally breaks a bottle in the locker room, drops a slide in biology class…. Yes, Froggy is on a bad streak. Froggy’s friend believes that for every bad streak, there’s a good streak. Sure enough, Froggy throws an egg into a carton without breaking it, passes a surprise math quiz, and…. Now he just needs to ask out the hot girl before his luck runs out.
Other things which happen are tragic such as those recounted in Fighter and in The Baddest Dog in Harlem. In the story Fighter, Billy is a boxer, who once found fights exciting but now the nervousness over them has turned to nausea. Moreover, his wife has asked him to stop accepting fights. Yet in the opening scene, Billy is headed back to the ring. Why? Because he knows that the money he earns will allow him to keep saying yes to his wife’s requests, dreams, and plans. Fight stories aren’t exactly my normal reading fare, and this one is about the inevitable match that Billy faces which costs him his health, but the realistic portrayal of Billy’s pain is vividly written. Also, there’s a beautiful scene between Billy and his wife that makes the whole story worth the read. In The Baddest Dog in Harlem, the story starts with innocent chatter between a few young people about who’s the best fighter of all time. Then two police cars tear around the corner and the action begins. However, The Baddest Dog in Harlem doesn’t play out the way one might expect, with white policeman hassling black young people or worse beating them up. The narrator even nonchalantly observes, “After a while that gets boring, so when the cops arrive like this is breaks up the day nice.” The police keep looking for the shooter, one lady complains about her drapes being riddled with bullets, but nothing seems particularly bad. This is a heart-wrenching story for which tissues aren’t enough. Yet, The Baddest Dog in Harlem is so haunting, you must read it.
One of my favorite stories is a love story entitled Kitty and Mack. Romances aren’t my normal reading fare, any more than fight stories. This is one of the best, up there with Romeo and Juliet. Myers introduces us to Mack, a basketball player, and then Kitty who reads Mack a love poem. The two date and make plans for the future. Then there’s an accident, whose contrivance is worth overlooking because of the depiction of what happens next in this young couple’s relationship. As you might expect in a story real to life, Mack becomes despondent and even rejects Kitty. What you might not expect is how Kitty reacts, how Mack reacts in turn to her, and exactly how this relationship pans out because of that accident.
I have now described five of the ten stories in 145th Street by Walter Dean Myers. Five just as fascinating tales remain for you to discover. All ten stories will usher you into a different world with unique people and places. They might also inspire you to think about what things are happening on your own street today.
My rating?Read it: Borrow from your library or a friend. It’s worth your time.
How would you rate this book?
Tags: 145th Street, Allison's Book Bag, Walter Dean Myers