The Human Condition: It’s Paradoxical Nature

1696 words - 7 pages

The human condition is all that humans have to encounter, both negative and positive, from the birth of a child to relationships to death; and about the reactions to these inevitable events, sorrow, happiness, anger, and humor. But humans can feel both humor and pathos simultaneously when certain events take place. In Red Sky at Morning by Richard Bradford, Bradford utilizes the use of humor and pathos to demonstrate how the human condition is not as straightforward as it seems. Through Josh’s point of view, Bradford illustrates Josh’s feelings towards events that happen in his life, which reveals certain paradoxical aspects of the human condition. Bradford discloses the nature of the human condition through the balance of humor and pathos, the proceedings of discrimination and racism, the difficulty of growth and aging, the importance of friendship and sex, and the inescapability of life and death.
Many people in this story have different views on discrimination and racism. In the south where Josh lives, racism takes place in his daily life. Like Josh’s mother, who believes southern born Americans, whose bloodline can be traced back to the confederacy, are superior to Italians, African-Americans, Asians, and many other races. And since it is built into the colloquialism of the south, for some moments it is humorous; for instance when Josh playfully teases Paul and Lacy, ““What are you going to do with those big old ten-dollar bills?” [Josh] asked. “That is a lot of money for a couple of childish darkies.” Paul whooped and nearly dropped a cup” (5). The conversation may be playful banter between them, but some people may feel the communication is insulting. The truth is that many crimes, fights, and discrimination are deeply rooted into racism and separation of the color of skin. The humor is a disguise for the true reality of racism which affects many populations currently. Bradford uses the humor and pathos to show that many can have ambivalent feelings simultaneously or sometimes people are indifferent in certain situations. Like Corky, when she wrote a letter to Josh about the happenings in Mobile, “All the niggers are working at the plants and making just scads of money and Daddy says it’s going to ruin the economy” (85), this comment represents that her prejudice is intrinsic, but truly it is puissant discrimination against African-Americans. Not only in Alabama, Sagrado is also separated or “classified” into three categories of people. When Josh goes to De Crispin High school, a student named Steenie gives the definition of the three categories: Natives, Hispanic and Latino people from Mexico or Spain; Indians, Native Americans like the Pueblos; and Anglos, any other race in Sagrado. Bradford demonstrates that the classification can be taken place regardless of the population of the city. Not only does he use humor and pathos to reveal the views on racism, but he also is able to show the various emotions of growth and aging.
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