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Banks' "black Man and White Woman in a Dark Green Rowboat"

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One Sided Relationships in Banks'

"Black Man and White Woman in Dark Green Rowboat"

The story "Black Man and White Women in Dark Green Rowboat," written by Russell Banks, is about a struggling interracial relationship. Throughout this story one will find that the white women tries to control every part of their relationship. While the black man would like to express his thoughts of what they should do in their situation, the girl will not even give him a chance. Once the black man sees just how selfish this girl is, he makes the decision to leave her and move on with his life.

The story starts out on an extremely hot day in August at a trailer park that is right next to a lake. The white woman lives in the trailer park and her boyfriend, the black man, has come over to spend some time with her. They decided to go out on the lake and while they were out on this dark green rowboat he was going to fish while she sun bathed. This is really where one will start to see just how shallow this girl is. When they met on the beach the girl helped the man push the boat to the water and instead of helping him push the boat out away from shore she hopped in it before her feet had even gotten wet.

Then while the man is rowing she is trying to entice him by rubbing "tanning lotion slowly over her arms and legs and across her shoulders and belly"(57). As the man "studied the wedge of her crotch, then her navel, then the rise of her small breasts, and finally her long throat glistening in the sunlight" (57), she new that she had total control over him. The man was dripping with sweat from the effort of rowing wishing that he would have worn a hat but since he didn't he took his shirt off and wrapped it around his head like a turban. When he stopped rowing to do this the girl sat up from tanning and smiled at him and said, "You look like an Arab. A sheik. A galley slave, more likely." (57-58), referring to him as her slave. "No, really. Honestly" (58) she says, reassuring him that she was not kidding when she called him a galley slave.

Now they start to talk about the situation that they are in when the girl says, "I'm already putting on weight" (58). Which in this story means that she is pregnant and then she tells the man that she told her mother about them and their situation but she never looked at him when she was talking to him. She was facing the sun with her eyes shut when the man asked "And?" (58) And the girl replied kind of snotty by saying, "And nothing. I told her that I love you very much" (58). The man starting to realize how much this girl doesn't care about him takes his frustration out on the water by rowing faster and not very smoothly.

She tells the man that her mother likes him but just worries about her a lot because she thinks that her daughter is fragile. "Especially now, because I've had some close calls" she says and when the man asks what kind of close calls the girl says, "Oh, you know. Depression." (59). Even though her close calls where probably from being pregnant before she was saying it was depression to not look like such a tramp to the man.

Then she said, "I'm going do it," referring to having an abortion and that her mom had made an appointment to have it done



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