In the short story, the main character, Nat Lime, loves to being with black people, but they do not love to be around him. All of his life he has lived in a predominately black neighborhood and he loves to be around black people. The only problem is that he is a white Jew and in the 1960s blacks could not trust any white men. He has spent his entire life trying to prove to people that he is not the average Jew and does not consider himself to be different from anyone. In the story he interacts with several different blacks that turn him away and eventually cause him to feel pain physically and emotionally. Nat Lime fails with black people socially, politically, economically, religiously, and psychologically; it just his faith.
Nat Lime as a huge problem socially more then any other characteristics, with blacks. Since Mr. Lime is the minority in the neighborhood, he tries extra hard to fit in. He goes to the block parties they have every so often and even tries to be friends with some of the children his age. Buster is one of the children that he forced himself upon. Nat Lime would tries to make him his friend by inviting him to the movies.
Buster could not offered to go to the movies so he excepted his invitation. After a few trips to the movies Buster was disgusted by the fact that Nat Lime, a Jew, was trying to buy his friendship. That is a prime example on how he tried too hard to be friends with blacks. Nat Lime also has a problem of picking the wrong people to be friends with. Instead of him being friends with some who has experessed the same feelings he has about race, he picks those who do not want to be bothered, by anyone. Another example is mrs. Omita Harris, the woman that he thought was the love of his life.
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Mrs. Harris, a black woman, dated Mr. Lime for a while but was scared to commit. Mrs. Harris just like Buster did not want a white man helping her with her problems. She had a cheap on a her shoulder which made her cold to white people. Only after a little confessing did she go on a date with Mr. Lime to places where no one she knew would see them. When they began to get too close she went away, because in her mind she did not believe that they could make it as a couple. Nat Lime needs to face reality and excepts his standards in life.
During the time of 1960, people all of the country was fighting over desegregation and integration, which led people to believe that no one could be trusted. Even if they were the most sincere person the have ever met, being seen in public would cause great pain to both people. Nat Lime and Mrs. Omita Harris face the problem of being seen in public.
On one occasion after one of their dates, Nat Lime, insisted on walking her to her house. During the walk home they were approached by three black men who eventually beat him for being with a black woman. That should have been a wake up call for him. Just because he loved her and was a different from most Jews, did not mean that the world could see that. If they had continued to be together, there is a possibility that both of them could have lost their life for love. Life is nothing without love and happiness but is life if you are living in fear from day-to-day.
Another problem that he faced was money. Nat Lime did not become rich until he has grown, but throughout his life he has tried to buy blacks for their friendship. Anyone would feel threated by someone who tries to buy them just to get close to them. That is like saying that the person is cheap and/or desperate. Even though it may be harder for somone to earn a dollar, they still need to know that they worked for it and that no one passed them out a favor.
Money is giving to children who are too weak, young and immature to earn their own money. Most men do not want a woman to take care of them because it will hurt their pride; that is just the same for women and minorities. If Mr. Lime just relaxed and let the friendship grow on their own, he would probably have more friends and better relationships.
Nat Lime had two stricks against before he could even show his true self. Since he was white blacks did not trust him, but because he was a Jew, people hated him. Jews are not Christians and do not hold the same beliefs has a Christian. Black people, even if they do not attend church regularly, still have deep beliefs about Christ and for the respect his life and rules.
Jews are said to not believe in Jesus and that can be a sign of disrespect to Christians, Mrs. Ornita like most blacks was a Christian and it would be extremely hard for her to marry out of her religion. If most people were faced by a non-Christian they would most likely not envovle them in their life on a personal level. It probably would not get the point where they would have to decide whether or not they would marry out of their relgion. It was already a risk for Mrs. Ornita to date a white man but to marry out of her religion would be a huge sacrifice to make for love.
The last problem that Nat Lime faced was a psychologically problem which interacts with the rest of his problems. Psychologically it is hard for a single black woman to make it in society without fear that someone is trying to take advantage of her loneliness. People in society has already brainwashed blacks to believe that all whites are trying to hurt, kill, or rape them. This alone can cause a person to be on the defense all of the time.
Since he tried to give her money or discounts on the food that she bought from his store, psychologically that could make her think that she is a poor black woman struggling to make it. Even if that is true, no one wants to be seen in that form.
Nat Lime has failed in five categories with black people: socially, politcally, econonmically, religiosly, and psychologically. He forced himself on peole who did not trust him and would rather not be bothered with him. Just because he is a minority does not mean that he can not be excepted but he shouldnt force himself on people. He gave to those who would rather not be bothered and/or helped in any fashion. He trusted those who were raised to hate men like him. Even though black is his favorite color, does not mean that white is black peoples favorite color.
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