Stranger in the Village Essay

745 Words Apr 1st, 2006 3 Pages
"Stranger in the Village"

In the essay "Stranger in the Village" the author tells about his experience in a small Swiss mountain village where he visited from America. In this very small secluded town populated by all white people the author is the only black person that the people of the village have ever seen. "From all available evidence no black man had ever set foot in this tiny Swiss village before I came," (93). The author would stay in the village for a short stay and then go back to the US, but he often returned to work on his writings, due to the fact that the village had few distractions. Even though he is no longer a stranger to the village the natives still treat him as so. "Everyone in the village knows my name, though
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The first response after seeing that is, this person is different than me therefore he is a "stranger" and we shall treat him as one. The author also speaks about the "American Negro" and how unlike other black people in the world the "American Negro" has no other history than slavery, their past was taken right from them, at one blow. He asserts that the future is the only thing the American Negro has, to look forward to. "I am told that there are Haitians able to trace their ancestry back to African kings, but any American Negro wishing to go back so far will find his journey through time abruptly arrested by the signature on the bill of sale which served as the entrance paper for his ancestor," (98). In a sense the "American Negro"‘s history that they are branded with "… maybe the nightmare from which no one can awake. People are trapped in history and history is trapped in them," (95). The author explains that the black man would be considered as an equal and not as a stranger if the white man would just change their view of them. He states the reasoning behind the white man keeping their view of the black man as an "exotic rarity". The white man does not change his views because of the fear of losing the position of authority and power over the black man. "… the white man prefers to keep the black man at a certain human remove because it is easier for him thus to preserve his simplicity and avoid being called to account for crimes

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