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Essay 3: Short Story

Essay 3


This short story is about people and the different types, how they interact and come into confrontation with each other. It centers about racism, gender equality, bigotry, intolerance and by the end of the story a truth is revealed. I was inspired by Rena’s Promise and the movie Crash, both dealt with racism, bigotry, hatred and fear.

They are four main characters that represent the main personality types and people and each one is an opposite and opposing figure for the next. I chose to distill the many different types of people there are and grouped them under just 4 for the sake of this “short” story. I needed to get these four together somehow and started to think about the common thread that binds us all. That thing that no matter what class, race, creed or gender you are that they all would have to do.

I thought of illness- everyone get sick sometime, but a upper middle-class white man is not going to go to the public hospital that a poor black would go, he would instead go private. Then I thought about paying taxes and voting but I didn’t like the idea of staging a conflict at a polling station or something. Then I thought grocery store but for the same reason as the illness, a poor black who say shops at a dollar store would not be able to afford to shop the same place as the white guy. Finally I just went with a train, everyone takes the train, doesn’t matter what class you’re. like New York and the subway, if it’s the most practical way of travelling then you have to take the train and so I go my characters together.

After getting the characters together and knowing how they would be in conflict with each other and why, I needed to figure out the catalyst- what causes them to conftront one another. It came to me and so I just needed to focus on character development and how I want to reveal certain hints and clues.

There is a power outage and the train grinds to a halt. The four main characters are trapped in a subway among throngs of other people. They are stuck there for hours. Tempers begin to rise as each of the four persons represent a quality or perpetuate a stereotype that the other hates or fears.

                The Main Characters are Rex Van de Kamp, Lynette Scova, D'Quan Johnson andRyan Mathews. Rex Van de Kamp is a white upper middle-class male chauvinist who forbids his wife to work. She stays home and tends to the children, have dinner home when he comes in. He also has some racist tendencies. He represents the male stereotype that feminists’ and blacks hate. He comes into conflict with the feminist by his sexist remark about the feminist as well as the black guy. When he says “Don’t you know you can’t reason with those people (meaning black people)…isn’t that like a woman to stick their noses into things that don’t concern them, that’s why I have my wife stay home”

Lynette Scova represents the feminists and she believes in gender equality: she is strong willed and she represents the type of women that chauvinists fear. She believes women can do it all, why should they stay home, they can work just as hard and as well as men and she dislikes those women who rely on their femininity and sexuality to get what they want. She comes to the gay guy’s defense and also in defense of her own self.

D’Quan Johnson is the black guy. Thug-like. Urban dialect, sagging jeans, oversized shirt with a baseball cap. Never went to College and is very homophobic. He gets into conflict with gay guy as well as the white male. He represents that black male stereotype that whites fear and dislike.

Ryan Bleu: Gay guy. Stereotypical, tight clothing, talks with a soft voice, he represents the type of person that the black guy hates. He comes into confrontation with the black guy. The feminist comes to his defense to which the chauvinist mutters “Don’t you know you can’t reason with those people (meaning black people)…isn’t that like a woman to stick there noses into things that don’t concern them, that’s why I have my wife stay home” this is the catalyst for the confrontation.

Supporting characters are the random undefined passengers in the car on the train with them, who take sides, some remain impartial or others just whisper to themselves or each other deciding to stay out of the melee.

Each character is set in their beliefs and opinions of the others and the protagonists- (gay and feminist). However, as the story unfolds we see that they are not as altruistic as they claim to be and that the antagonists are not as bad as they may seem, they are the way they are for a reason and we begin to see some actual good intentions. By the end of the story the reader will have made this discovery.


"Homophobia is like racism and anti-Semitism and other forms of bigotry in that it seeks to dehumanize a large group of people, to deny their humanity, to deny thier dignity and personhood“- Coretta Scott King


“Perhaps travel cannot prevent bigotry, but by demonstrating that all peoples cry, laugh, eat, worry, and die, it can introduce the idea that if we try and understand each other, we may even become friends.” -Maya Angelou

 949 Words


Works Cited
Gelissen, Rena. Heather Macadam. Rena’s Promise: A Story of Sisters in Auschwitz. Boston: BeaconPress, 1996. 

Crash (2004): Directed by Paul Haggis; Written by Paul Haggis, Roberto Moresco



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