Find your subject
in our database of
Spark your creativity...
an impressive essay!
Arna Bontemps illustrates in his literary work "A Summer Tragedy" the terrible story of two old persons, Jeff and Jennie Patton, who take their lives in order to free themselves from poverty. The story was published in 1933, a bleak period in world history that is exemplified by the Great Depression, lack of jobs, drought and segregation. The story emphasizes some of the economic, physical and mental elements that had a great impact on Jeff and Jennie Patton.
The economic constraints are major elements affecting Jeff and Jennie's lives. The story emphasizes the difficulties that people had during 1930s. Drought represents one of the biggest constraints of people, giving the story the idea of suffocating. The order of the elements is not randomly chosen. It is meant to concentrate on the fact that people's lives, their farms and houses were gradually affected by the stiff nature. When the author reveals that "the sun was hot on his head, his collar still pinched his throat, and the Sunday clothes were intolerably hot. Jeff transferred the hat to his right hand and began fanning with it," he tries to concentrate on the fact that even the weather opposes their right to live. People were poor and they were living with no hope for the next day to be better. As a result of these, there is no demarcation line, but one common factor to this entire situation and that is poverty. To illustrate this picture, the author indicates that "among them were scattered scores of log houses like Jeff's, houses of black share farmers. Cows and pigs wandered freely among the trees. There was no danger of loss. Each farmer knew his own stock and knew his neighbor's as well as he knew his neighbors children." They all know the situation, the routine that had already marked their lives, that they are poor, and that is the situation they are going to die. This fact can be seen in the description of Delia's house, an old lady condemned to the same poverty like the others. In order to remove the dust of obscurity, the author reveals that "Delia's house was really no house at all, but an abandoned store building converted into a dwelling. It sat near a crossroads, beneath a single black cedar tree." The story concentrates on their conditions and it seems that time put its dust not only on the history path of their lives, but on their farm. The fact that people are living in farms makes them form unconsciously a big family. People are sharing their goods among them, even though there are cases when things are stolen. Even the animals can feel the pain from their souls, the dearth and absence of life. In order to point out this fact, the author shows that "there were three frizzly chickens in the yard. All his other chickens had been killed or stolen recently [...]. But even the frizzly chickens seemed now to be in a stupor. Jeff thought they had some ailment; he expected all three of them to die shortly." Life seems to interact with inert elements in order to concentrate on people's lives being gradually affected by the hard situation. Their "old model-T Ford" is the element that underlines once more their poor condition and even though the car may show a short coming to life, Jeff knows that this is not going to be and last forever. He knows that for his tormented and poor situation, true happiness lasts only for a moment.
Names mentioned in this term paper
Jeff, Jennie, Jeff Patton, Jennie Patton, a remarkable writer, stringbean,
Facility referenced in this research material
Keywords mentioned in this research material
Jeff, Jennie, Arna Bontemps, physical appearance, outer world, human nature, a big family, dust, underline, Patton, short story, a moment, this picture, demarcation line, blind fish, mental processes, Great Depression, suffocating, right hand, common factor, a secret, a single, human being, a dream, black hole, cedar tree, black skin, Lord Jesus, farms, pain, African American, image, world history, sputtering, anguish, remarkable, show, edge, step, conditions, thoughts, pinched, unconsciously, distort, stupor, limping, model T, convulsion, paroxysm, suffocated,