For my final post, I’d like to offer a quote from John Steinbeck’s Cannery Row: In Cannery Row, it is said that “It’s inhabitants are, as the man once said, ‘whores, pimps, gamblers, and sons of bitches,’ by which he meant Everybody. Had the man looked through another peephole he might have said, ‘Saints and angels and martyrs and holy men,’ and he would have meant the same thing.” (Steinbeck, 111)
People can be one thing to one person; and the opposite to someone else. People may portray themselves as a hero or a victim to one group and then the same rhetoric can be used to counter what they portrayed themselves as- such as with the idea of the savage in the captivity narratives. As much as the way others perform their gender or try to shape themselves in a certain way through telling their story in a specific way; it is up to the reader to decide for themselves what is really going on. The readers are like consumers. They can buy into the way people market themselves, or they can refute it. They can also come away with a different interpretation than what the person tried to market themselves as. They can criticize the way that the characters are presented, like in “The Lovers of the Poor” or “To Elsie.” People may try to market themselves as a specific type- such as a hero, or a victim or an exemplary ideal of black masculinity, but the audience has a part in it to.
I chose the title “Just not buying it” because the way people market themselves doesn’t work if we don’t “buy into” the way they portray themselves. It is not only about the individual, but American society as a whole.