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The Witness

  • Date Submitted: 10/23/2011 12:06 PM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 55.7 
  • Words: 1066
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Katherine Anne Porter’s “The Witness” is a fictional short story about a former slave named Uncle Jimbilly. The title of this short story indicates that Uncle Jimbilly was no more than “A Witness” in the course of slavery. Uncle Jimbilly was adapting to this new way of living without slavery. He was attempting to discover his new identity as a free man in a world that was in no type of urgency to move on and forget about the past. Uncle Jimbilly himself had an urge to forget about the past, but that task wouldn’t be as easy as it might sound. All the wounds and agony left behind from his days of slavery, made people perceive him as an unpleasant and angry man. This story signifies the difficulties people dealt with even after slavery ended. Individuals such as Uncle Jimbilly were not quite sure how to act around certain people while many of those people around him weren’t quite sure how to treat him. The narrator seems to be an individual who is rather close to Uncle Jimbilly having the ability to identify with his behavior which might seem unordinary to most. This narrator seems to be relatively familiar with the family as well. This is what gives him the ability to function as a great intermediate while educating us about this out of the ordinary tale. The assumption that the narrator is well acquainted with the family as well as Uncle Jimbilly can be evidently seen many times throughout the story. For instance, Uncle Jimbilly was said to be suddenly annoyed and you never knew why. The narrator states, “He was easily put out about things, but his threats were always so exorbitant that not even the most credulous child could be terrified by them.” Later on in the story, the narrator explains in great detail why Uncle Jimbilly never did any of the things he threatened to do.
Something to look for in this story is the tactic being used to keep separation amongst Uncle Jimbilly and the narrator undoubtedly apparent. Uncle Jimbilly and the narrator have a...


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