Thursday, August 1, 2019

A Character’s Role Essay

In a world focused on elevators one wonders, what would it mean if one were to take the stairs? The Intuitionist, by Colson Whitehead, deals with the exploration of Lila Mae Watson, a black female intuitionist, who undergoes a quest to reveal what Intuitionism is all about. As a result of her quest, the connection between James Fulton, the creator of Intuitionism and Lila Mae Watson’s role as character is revealed. Lila M. Watson, the protagonist of this novel, endures a number of experiences as the first black elevator intuitionist. An accident occurs with an elevator which she was in charge of. From then on the story introduces Lila Mae’s quest for answers. Lila Mae’s life goes into detail about how fragments of her life have been shattered with grief, and racism above all. During her exam about elevators in college, she was answering flawlessly with details and precisions at the professor’s questions. The last question had nothing to do with elevators, just a reckoning to her; so that she knows that there are only twelve colored inspectors and they most of them are not even working, by making her know that even though she answered swiftly she didn’t know everything: â€Å"So you don’t know everything; that will be all Miss Watson. † (p 53) Within the story she goes into a subtle exploration of her own identity, race, and duty as a person in her position. This leads into the elusive quest for â€Å"the black box† and ultimately James’s Watson’s â€Å"Perfect elevator† But this quest of hers intertwines with the experiences of James Fulton. This intricate character deals with the many hardships that Lila Mae dealt with during her youth, only with the slight fact that he dealt with these issues with his inner self. Fulton’s secretive and deceiving nature is the actual cause of all the events that take place. James is actually a black man with light skin, who does not feel comfortable letting the world know that he is black because of his status. â€Å"Fulton’s hatred of himself and his lie of whiteness†(p 239). Although he’s not to blame because in the world they live in it is not as easy being a person of color. â€Å"There was no hope for him as a colored man because the white world will not let a colored man rise. â€Å"(p 240) For this very reason he decides to play the role of a white man. At early age he knew he would be confused for a white person, so he used this trait to achieve his greatness in life. Overtime Fulton became godly to people, because of his knowledge about elevators and what he had to write about them. â€Å"Every Tuesday James Fulton†¦. stood in the downstairs drawing room and lectured on the intricacies of his science† (p 54). One does not realize that this intuitionism is created as a joke. A joke that is taken seriously and soon evolves into the world itself. Both Fulton and Watson are two figures who struggle for one cause only. To achieve their goal in life, for Watson it is to find and reveal the perfect elevator into the world, and for Fulton it is to create and implement this perfect elevator into the world. As two black figures in a white-ruled society it is their socialistic duty to fulfill their goals and be aware that this achievement is critical for their community. Lila M. Watson is forced to go on a journey that is composed of events that will prove her innocence about the incident, discover the perfect elevator, and like Fulton, take an important position in society. She sees herself as a person who has a duty to fill Fulton’s shoes. In the other hand Fulton’s lies and secrets are what form the entire story. After having developed intuitionism for that long, he realized he needs a successor, who will deal with society. But it is Intuitionism that must be kept important until the world is ready for the perfect elevator. Fulton does not publish his work for this very reason. Like Lila Mae’s duty of finding his perfect elevator, it is his to create it. But little do we know that this perfect elevator is nothing more then what he has created as a mockery of the world he lives in. It consist of a perfect world where there exists no racial constrains. Fulton is a man who creates a perfect society in his mind and puts it in paper, but never reveals it. Lila Mae discovers this but she knows that even though she’s been living in a world of lies, it is her duty to preserve this knowledge until the world becomes a place like Fulton metaphorically described in his books. This the story that deals with one’s accomplishment to fool the world and in the meantime while everyone is fascinated by his accomplishments and fake works, he devotes his life to creating a blueprint to a better world for existence.

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