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Like A Winding Sheet
Transcript of Like A Winding Sheet
Ann Petry uses foreshadowing and symbolism towards Johnson's character to show that he is consistently wound tight, although he tries to do what's right, it is never enough to see past the color of his skin, living in a white supremacy society.
Born in Old Saybrook Connecticut October 12, 1908- April 28, 1997.
First African American woman writer to attain best seller status in the United States.
Experienced effects of racism upon her first day of school by white children.
Graduated as the only black student in the class of 1931.
Stories typically involves African Americans struggling against the crippling impact of racism, a more broad notion that targets class and gender as well.
Story alludes when Johnson's wife Mae comments on Johnson being wrapped tight in their white bed sheets.
"Looks like a winding sheet... a shroud." (18-19)
"You look like a huckleberry in a winding sheet." (20-21)
Continuous mentions of, "red lipstick" and "hair flipping" and his "clenched fist."
Mae's mentioning it being Friday the 13th, superstition that something bad was going to happen that day.
Comparisons of different characters leads to the fatality in the end.
A Shroud is a sheet used for wrapping a corpse.
1. A small unit of degree or measure
2. Person, small unimportant person; mocking self- depreciation
The white color of the "Winding Sheet," symbolizes white society.
Carol Bender suggests that Johnson realizes that, "racial discrimination both in the workplace and in society at large is a significant cause of the breakdown in African American family life and marital relationships."
Petry's description of the story behind violence illuminates the devastation caused by such racial injustice.
Johnson and Mrs. Scott
Gets on him for being late as he always is.
Calls Johnson a "
"curious tingling in his fingers....
hard, ready to smash some of those purple veins on her face."
"queer feeling that his hands were
not exactly a part of him anymore
Johnson and the Coffee Girl
Denys Johnson Coffee; insisting that there was no more.
"No more coffee for awhile."
Incident at work causes Johnson to become more susceptible to the idea of racism instead of realizing that there really was more coffee to be made.
Johnson and Mae
Petry, Ann. “Like a Winding Sheet.” Literature and the Writing Process. Elizabeth McMahan, Susan x Day, and Robert Funk. 5th ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ Prentice Hall, Inc. 1. 84-0.
Seidman, Barbara Kitt. "Ann Petry." Magill’S Survey Of American Literature, Revised Edition (2006): 1-6. Literary Reference Center. Web. 7 Dec. 2014.
Bender, Carol F. "Like A Winding Sheet." Masterplots II: Short Story Series, Revised Edition (2004): 1-2. Literary Reference Center. Web. 7 Dec. 2014.
Like A Winding Sheet
By: Ann Petry
African American Literature
Like A Winding Sheet
is in representation of how often people become frustrated over things that are beyond their control, only for it to build up. It illustrates how injustice can lead to anger and anger can lead those individuals to act upon violence. Despite Johnson's morals, he adopts a negative image of himself and feels the pressure of being mentally wound tight only to unravel out of self control.
Beware of him that is slow to anger; for when it is long coming, it is stronger when it comes and the longer kept. Abused patience turns to fury.
- Francis Quarles
There are two things a person should never be angry at, what they can help and what they cannot.
She wore red lipstick and flips hair.
Mae comments,"you're nothing but a old hungry nigger tryna act tough..."
Spirals out of control and brutally beats her.