Big Black Good Man Summary & Study Guide

Richard Wright

Big Black Good Man

  • 20-page comprehensive study guide
  • Features an extended summary and 6 sections of expert analysis
  • Written by a literary scholar with over a decade of teaching experience
Access Full Summary
Study Guide Navigation

Big Black Good Man Summary & Study Guide

SuperSummary, a modern alternative to SparkNotes and CliffsNotes, offers high-quality study guides for challenging works of literature. This 20-page guide for the short story “Big Black Good Man” by Richard Wright includes detailed a summary and analysis, as well as several more in-depth sections of expert-written literary analysis. Featured content includes commentary on major characters, 15 important quotes, essay topics, and key themes like Western Racism and Race in Europe.

Richard Wright’s “Big, Black, Good Man” is available at Esquire’s website and was originally published in the print version of the magazine on November 1, 1957. Told in a limited third-person narration, the story is set in Copenhagen, Denmark and is about racial misunderstanding.

Olaf Jensen, the night porter at a cheap waterfront hotel, is on duty the night before his sixtieth birthday. Olaf has had a mostly satisfactory life with his wife, Karen, and feels he could do worse when it comes to his work at the hotel. His satisfaction is shaken to the core when Jim, an enormous, immaculately dressed black sailor enters the hotel to ask for a room.

Afraid and viscerally disgusted by the size and very dark skin of the man, Olaf nevertheless finds himself renting a room to the man. Olaf’s discomfort deepens when the man turns over a large sum of cash for safekeeping and asks for a woman and liquor. Olaf sends along the requested liquor and Lena, a big, blonde woman who does sex work to supplement her income and seems likely to be able to handle herself. As he imagines the two together, Olaf grows angrier and imagines death scenarios in which Jim is devoured by sea monsters after his ship sinks.

Jim stays for six nights and spends each night with Lena. At the end of his stay, he demands his money and pays the bill to Olaf, who is so terrified that he readies himself to use the gun he has in his desk. Before leaving, Jim places his large hands around Olaf’s neck. Olaf…

This is just a preview. The entire section has 434 words. Click below to download the full study guide for Big Black Good Man.



 
 
NEXT
Story Analysis