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Journal 7 ‘Outsider theme’

Type a 300 word response—choose one of the six approved research paper story choices and write about how one of the characters is an ‘outsider’. This journal needs to be double-spaced, typed in courier new 12 point font, and must be formatted in MLA style format. Do not use ANY outside sources or information from the Internet to complete your journal.


Sherwood Anderson (1876 – 1941)

UPON the half decayed veranda of a small frame house that stood near the edge of a ravine near the town of

Winesburg, Ohio, a fat little old man walked nervously up and down. Across a long field that had been seeded for

clover but that had produced only a dense crop of yellow mustard weeds, he could see the public highway along

which went a wagon filled with berry pickers returning from the fields. The berry pickers, youths and maidens,

laughed and shouted boisterously. A boy clad in a blue shirt leaped from the wagon and attempted to drag after him

one of the maidens, who screamed and protested shrilly. The feet of the boy in the road kicked up a cloud of dust that

floated across the face of the departing sun. Over the long field came a thin girlish voice. “Oh, you Wing Biddlebaum,

comb your hair, it’s falling into your eyes,” commanded the voice to the man, who was bald and whose nervous little

hands fiddled about the bare white forehead as though arranging a mass of tangled locks.

Wing Biddlebaum, forever frightened and beset by a ghostly band of doubts, did not think of himself as in any way a

part of the life of the town where he had lived for twenty years. Among all the people of Winesburg but one had come

close to him. With George Willard, son of Tom Willard, the proprietor of the New Willard House, he had formed

something like a friendship. George Willard was the reporter on the Winesburg Eagle and sometimes in the evenings

he walked out along the highway to Wing Biddlebaum’s house. Now as the old man walked up and down on the

veranda, his hands moving nervously about, he was hoping that George Willard would come and spend the evening

with him. After the wagon containing the berry pickers had passed, he went across the field through the tall mustard

weeds and climbing a rail fence peered anxiously along the road to the town. For a moment he stood thus, rubbing

his hands together and looking up and down the road, and then, fear overcoming him, ran back to walk again upon

the porch on his own house.

In the presence of George Willard, Wing Biddlebaum, who for twenty years had been the town mystery, lost

something of his timidity, and his shadowy personality, submerged in a sea of doubts, came forth to look at the world.

With the young reporter at his side, he ventured in the light of day into Main Street or strode up and down on the

rickety front porch of his own house, talking excitedly. The voice that had been low and trembling became shrill and

loud. The bent figure straightened. With a kind of wriggle, like a fish returned to the brook by the fisherman,

Biddlebaum the silent began to talk, striving to put into words the ideas that had been accumulated by his mind during

long years of silence. Wing Biddlebaum talked much with his hands. The slender expressive fingers, forever active,

forever striving to conceal themselves in his pockets or

Raymond Carver – “Cathedral”

This blind man, an old friend of my wife’s, he was on his way to spend the night. His wife had

died. So he was visiting the dead wife’s relatives in Connecticut. He called my wife from his in-

law’s. Arrangements were made. He would come by train, a five-hour trip, and my wife would

meet him at the station. She hadn’t seen him since she worked for him one summer in Seattle ten

years ago. But she and the blind man had kept in touch. They made tapes and mailed them back

and forth. I wasn’t enthusiastic about his visit. He was no one I knew. And his being blind

bothered me. My idea of blindness came from the movies. In the movies, the blind moved slowly

and never laughed. Sometimes they were led by seeing-eye dogs. A blind man in my house was

not something I looked forward to.

That summer in Seattle she had needed a job. She didn’t have any money. The man she was

going to marry at the end of the summer was in officers’ training school. He didn’t have any

money, either. But she was in love with the guy, and he was in love with her, etc. She’d seen

something in the paper: HELP WANTED—Reading to Blind Man, and a telephone number. She

phoned and went over, was hired on the spot. She worked with this blind man all summer. She

read stuff to him, case studies, reports, that sort of thing. She helped him organize his little office

in the county social-service department. They’d become good friends, my wife and the blind

man. On her last day in the office, the blind man asked if he could touch her face. She agreed to

this. She told me he touched his fingers to every part of her face, her nose—even her neck! She

never forgot it. She even tried to write a poem about it. She was always trying to write a poem.

She wrote a poem or two every year, usually after something really important had happened to


When we first started going out together, she showed me the poem. In the poem, she recalled his

fingers and the way they had moved around over her face. In the poem, she talked about what

she had felt at the time, about what went through her mind when the blind man touched her nose

and lips. I can remember I didn’t think much of the poem. Of course, I didn’t tell her that. Maybe

I just don’t understand poetry. I admit it’s not the first thing I reach for when I pick up something

to read.

Anyway, this man who’d first enjoyed her favors, this officer-to-be, he’d been her childhood

sweetheart. So okay. I’m saying that at the end of the summer she let the blind man run his hands

over her face, said good-bye to him, married her childhood etc., who was now a commissioned

officer, and she moved away from Seattle. But they’d keep in touch, she and the blind man. She

made the first contact after a year or so. She called him up one night from an Air Force base in

Alabama. She wanted to talk. They talked. He asked her to send him a tape and tell him about

her life. She did

William Faulkner – “A Rose for Emily”

When Miss Emily Grierson died, our whole town went to her funeral: the men through a sort of

respectful affection for a fallen monument, the women mostly out of curiosity to see the inside of

her house, which no one save an old man-servant—a combined gardener and cook—had seen in

at least ten years.

It was a big, squarish frame house that had once been white, decorated with cupolas and spires

and scrolled balconies in the heavily lightsome style of the seventies, set on what had once been

our most select street. But garages and cotton gins had encroached and obliterated even the

august names of that neighborhood; only Miss Emily’s house was left, lifting its stubborn and

coquettish decay above the cotton wagons and the gasoline pumps—an eyesore among eyesores.

And now Miss Emily had gone to join the representatives of those august names where they lay

in the cedar-bemused cemetery among the ranked and anonymous graves of Union and

Confederate soldiers who fell at the battle of Jefferson.

Alive, Miss Emily had been a tradition, a duty, and a care; a sort of hereditary obligation upon

the town, dating from that day in 1894 when Colonel Sartoris, the mayor—he who fathered the

edict that no Negro woman should appear on the streets without an apron—remitted her taxes,

the dispensation dating from the death of her father on into perpetuity. Not that Miss Emily

would have accepted charity. Colonel Sartoris invented an involved tale to the effect that Miss

Emily’s father had loaned money to the town, which the town, as a matter of business, preferred

this way of repaying. Only a man of Colonel Sartoris’ generation and thought could have

invented it, and only a woman could have believed it.

When the next generation, with its more modern ideas, became mayors and aldermen, this

arrangement created some little dissatisfaction. On the first of the year they mailed her a tax

notice. February came, and there was no reply. They wrote her a formal letter, asking her to call

at the sheriff’s office at her convenience. A week later the mayor wrote her himself, offering to

call or to send his car for her, and received in reply a note on paper of an archaic shape, in a thin,

flowing calligraphy in faded ink, to the effect that she no longer went out at all. The tax notice

was also enclosed, without comment.

They called a special meeting of the Board of Aldermen. A deputation waited upon her, knocked

at the door through which no visitor had passed since she ceased giving china-painting lessons

eight or ten years earlier. They were admitted by the old Negro into a dim hall from which a

stairway mounted into still more shadow. It smelled of dust and disuse—a close, dank smell. The

Negro led them into the parlor. It was furnished in heavy, leather-covered furniture. When the

Negro opened the blinds of one window, they could see that the leather was cracked; and when

By Langston Huges

I was saved from sin when I was going on thirteen. But not really saved. It happened like

this. There was a big revival at my Auntie Reed’s church. Every night for weeks there had

been much preaching, singing, praying, and shouting, and some very hardened sinners had

been brought to Christ, and the membership of the church had grown by leaps and bounds.

Then just before the revival ended, they held a special meeting for children, “to bring the

young lambs to the fold.” My aunt spoke of it for days ahead. That night I was escorted to

the front row and placed on the mourners’ bench with all the other young sinners, who had

not yet been brought to Jesus.

My aunt told me that when you were saved you saw a light, and something happened to you

inside! And Jesus came into your life! And God was with you from then on! She said you

could see and hear and feel Jesus in your soul. I believed her. I had heard a great many old

people say the same thing and it seemed to me they ought to know. So I sat there calmly in

the hot, crowded church, waiting for Jesus to come to me.

The preacher preached a wonderful rhythmical sermon, all moans and shouts and lonely

cries and dire pictures of hell, and then he sang a song about the ninety and nine safe in the

fold, but one little lamb was left out in the cold. Then he said: “Won’t you come? Won’t you

come to Jesus? Young lambs, won’t you come?” And he held out his arms to all us young

sinners there on the mourners’ bench. And the little girls cried. And some of them jumped up

and went to Jesus right away. But most of us just sat there.

A great many old people came and knelt around us and prayed, old women with jet-black

faces and braided hair, old men with work-gnarled hands. And the church sang a song about

the lower lights are burning, some poor sinners to be saved. And the whole building rocked

with prayer and song.

Still I kept waiting to see Jesus.

Finally all the young people had gone to the altar and were saved, but one boy and me. He

was a rounder’s son named Westley. Westley and I were surrounded by sisters and deacons

praying. It was very hot in the church, and getting late now. Finally Westley said to me in a

whisper: “God damn! I’m tired o’ sitting here. Let’s get up and be saved.” So he got up and

was saved.

Then I was left all alone on the mourners’ bench. My aunt came and knelt at my knees and

cried, while prayers and song swirled all around me in the little church. The whole

congregation prayed for me alone, in a mighty wail of moans and voices. And I kept waiting

serenely for Jesus, waiting, waiting – but he didn’t come. I wanted to see him, but nothing

happened to me. Nothing! I wanted something to happen to me, but nothing happened.

I heard the songs and the minister saying: “Why don’t you come? My dear child, why don’t

you come to Jesus? Jesus is waiting for you. He wants you. Why

A Worn Path

BY Eudora Welty

It was December—a bright frozen day in the early morning. Far out in the country there was an old Negro woman

with her head tied red rag, coming along a path through the pinewoods. Her name was Phoenix Jackson. She was

very old and small and she walked slowly in the dark pine shadows, moving a little from side to side in her steps, with

the balanced heaviness and lightness of a pendulum in a grand-father clock. She carried a thin, small cane made

from an umbrella, and with this she kept tapping the frozen earth in front of her. This made a grave and persistent

noise in the still air, that seemed meditative like the chirping of a solitary little bird.

She wore a dark striped dress reaching down to her shoe tops, and an equally long apron of bleached sugar sacks,

with a full pocket: all neat and tidy, but every time she took a step she might have fallen over her shoelaces, which

dragged from her unlaced shoes. She looked straight ahead. Her eyes were blue with age. Her skin had a pattern all

its own of numberless branching wrinkles and as though a whole little tree stood in the middle of her forehead, but a

golden color ran underneath, and the two knobs of her cheeks were illumined by a yellow burning under the dark.

Under the red rag her hair came down on her neck in the frailest of ringlets, still black, and with an odor like copper.

Now and then there was a quivering in the thicket. Old Phoenix said, “Out of my way, all you foxes, owls, beetles,

jack rabbits, coons and wild animals!. . . Keep out from under these feet, little bob-whites…. Keep the big wild hogs

out of my path. Don’t let none of those come running my direction. I got a long way.” Under her small black-freckled

hand her cane, limber as a buggy whip, would switch at the brush as if to rouse up any hiding things.

On she went. The woods were deep and still. The sun made the pine needles almost too bright to look at, up where

the wind rocked. The cones dropped as light as feathers. Down in the hollow was the mourning dove—it was not too

late for him.

The path ran up a hill. “Seem like there is chains about my feet, time I get this far,” she said, in the voice of argument

old people keep to use with themselves. “Something always take a hold of me on this hill— pleads I should stay.”

After she got to the top she turned and gave a full, severe look behind her where she had come. “Up through pines,”

she said at length. “Now down through oaks.”

Her eyes opened their widest, and she started down gently. But before she got to the bottom of the hill a bush caught

her dress.

Her fingers were busy and intent, but her skirts were full and long, so that before she could pull them free in one

place they were caught in another. It was not possible to allow the dress to tear. “I in the thorny bush,” she said.

“Thorns, you doing your appointed work. Never want to let folks pass, no sir. Old eyes thought you

Flannery O’Connor – “A Good Man Is Hard To Find”

The grandmother didn’t want to go to Florida. She wanted to visit some of her connections in

east Tennes- see and she was seizing at every chance to change Bailey’s mind. Bailey was the

son she lived with, her only boy. He was sitting on the edge of his chair at the table, bent over the

orange sports section of the Journal. “Now look here, Bailey,” she said, “see here, read this,” and

she stood with one hand on her thin hip and the other rattling the newspaper at his bald head.

“Here this fellow that calls himself The Misfit is aloose from the Federal Pen and headed toward

Florida and you read here what it says he did to these people. Just you read it. I wouldn’t take my

children in any direction with a criminal like that aloose in it. I couldn’t answer to my conscience

if I did.”

Bailey didn’t look up from his reading so she wheeled around then and faced the children’s

mother, a young woman in slacks, whose face was as broad and innocent as a cabbage and was

tied around with a green head-kerchief that had two points on the top like rabbit’s ears. She was

sitting on the sofa, feeding the baby his apricots out of a jar. “The children have been to Florida

before,” the old lady said. “You all ought to take them somewhere else for a change so they

would see different parts of the world and be broad. They never have been to east Tennessee.”

The children’s mother didn’t seem to hear her but the eight-year-old boy, John Wesley, a stocky

child with glasses, said, “If you don’t want to go to Florida, why dontcha stay at home?” He and

the little girl, June Star, were reading the funny papers on the floor.

“She wouldn’t stay at home to be queen for a day,” June Star said without raising her yellow


“Yes and what would you do if this fellow, The Misfit, caught you?” the grandmother asked.

“I’d smack his face,” John Wesley said.

“She wouldn’t stay at home for a million bucks,” June Star said. “Afraid she’d miss something.

She has to go everywhere we go.”

“All right, Miss,” the grandmother said. “Just re- member that the next time you want me to curl

your hair.”

June Star said her hair was naturally curly.

The next morning the grandmother was the first one in the car, ready to go. She had her big black

valise that looked like the head of a hippopotamus in one corner, and underneath it she was

hiding a basket with Pitty Sing, the cat, in it. She didn’t intend for the cat to be left alone in the

house for three days because he would miss her too much and she was afraid he might brush

against one of her gas burners and accidentally asphyxiate himself. Her son, Bailey, didn’t like to

arrive at a motel with a cat.

She sat in the middle of the back seat with John Wesley and June Star on either side of her.

Bailey and the children’s mother and the baby sat in front and they left Atlanta at eight forty-five

with the mileage on t

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