1. Analyze Dorothy West’s “The Typewriter” in terms of the slavery versus freedom theme so prominent in the text.
Although his life was a bit difficult, Lucius Jones had no trouble at all performing odd jobs to make ends meet. In a sense, he is bound, or enslaved, by the inability to eke out a living that netted nothing more than frankfurters and beans for a meal. In this reading, Dorothy West describes this character as “an abject little man.” In my mind, I immediately think of a hopeless, quite miserable individual who is downtrodden about his current state of being.
When Lucius is able to live his imaginary “businessman” lifestyle through the correspondence he gives his daughter via dictation on her typewriter, for once, he experiences freedom from what had enslaved him for so long. In this “free” place, there are no hard times in life, no odd jobs to do, no frankfurters and beans to eat – J. Lucius Jones is all business, and plays his role to the hilt.
Unfortunately, Mr. Jones becomes a little too involved in this fictitious character. He put all his hopes and dreams of par social status and finds it difficult to escape. So much so, that when his daughter gains a real-life stenographer position, Lucius Jones is given an instant jolt back into the pits of bondage, that for a time, he was able to flee. Unable to accept total enslavement again, Jones is in utter pain. “It burst upon him. Blinded him. His hands groped for the bulge beneath his coat. Why this – this was the end! The end of those great moments – the end of everything! Bewildering pain tore through him. He clutched at his heart and felt, almost, the jagged edges drive into his hand. A lethargy swept down upon him. He could not move, nor utter a sound. He could not pray, nor curse. Against the wall of that silence J. Lucius Jones crashed and died.” The freedom he’d hoped for, imagined and so badly wanted to live for, was gone.
I love the way Dorothy West executes this character....