Walter of the white community, is also completely

Walter Mosley, in his literary novel Devil in a Blue Dress, incorporates animal symbolism to address the abundance of racial segregation and superiority highlighted throughout the novel, using his accounts from World War 2 to further emphasize his accounts as a detective of color. In the novel, the black veteran Easy Rawlins viewed an individual as either black or white. Commenting on the racial segregation of Los Angeles during the 1950’s, Rawlins explains the perspectives and tensions held post World War 2, setting the scene for his encounters with characters of different races. Upon meeting the character DeWitt Albright in the beginning of the novel, Rawlins is “surprised to see a white man walk in to Joppy’s bar”(45). As Rawlins begins to work with Albright, he is addressed as “boy” highlighting the his inferior position in their relationship. And while Rawlins uncomplicates his life by living in a simplistic world of black and white, his experiences with several characters in the novel suggest that the segregation and racial superiority comes from more than just the color of your skin. Take, for example, Daphne Monet, a women with light skin and blue eyes. She, while indeed a part of the white community, is also completely black. She may have white skin— “Her nose, cheeks, her skin color – they were white”—but Daphne is a black women(200). Because of this, she is segregated from society. Consistently throughout the novel, Mosley relates Daphne to a “chameleon”, suggesting that her skin color traps her between the white and black community, making her feel unwanted and isolated from both of these worlds(74). Similarly, Mosley uses several animals to represent Easy Rawlins emotions and perspectives as a black detective living in a white community. During Rawlins’ time at the police station, he relates to dead mouse at the corner of the room. He felt defeated and hopeless, wronged by Mason and Miller’s racist tactics. Mosley, whose father and mother are African American and Jewish respectively, reigned the prejudices of Nazis under the Third Reich and Americans of the African Americans. Influenced by the horrors of anti Semitism and the unjust treatment of African Americans during the Civil War, Mosley expresses these injustices through the character Easy Rawlins. In the beginning of the book, Easy succumbs to the racial pressures of society, living up the to future he faces as the “Negro” in his community. As the novel progresses, he challenges the notions that race and racism are two intertwined ideas. Instead, he uses his passion for investigation as a way to achieve the American Dream—financial security.


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