Racial Isolation

Another Country is not a protest novel; rather it is a reflective novel on the issues of personal responsibility and the formation of identity.   In this essay, I want to explore how several significant characters in the novel represent a quest to travel to another place, a place where self-condemnation and self-alienation due not exist.   Rather, Another Country represents a place of wholeness and integration that excludes the cultural stereotypes of racism, sexism, and homophobia.   Two of the major characters failed to realize their dream of becoming integrated human beings.   In Another Country, Rufus Scott and Vivaldo Moore struggled against themselves and the cultural stereotypes of others.
Early in the novel, Rufus Scott compares the beauty of his sister Ida to a stunningly colorful Indian shawl he picked up for her while he had been in the Navy:

“…and she tried it on, something shook in him which had never been touched before.   He had never seen the beauty of black people before.   But, staring at Ida…seeing that she was no longer merely his younger sister but a girl who would soon be a woman, she became associated with the colors of the shawl, the colors of the sun, and with a splendor incalculably older than the gray stone of the island on which they had been born.   He thought that perhaps this splendor would come into the world again one day….Then he looked out of the window, at the air shaft, and thought of the whores on Seventh Avenue.   He thought of the white policemen and the money they made on black flesh, the money the whole world made.” (7)

Rufus demonstrates in the above quote his desperation over the condition of racism that clouds his perception of reality at almost every turn.   On the one hand, he recognizes that black is beautiful and associates the color of his sister with beauty.   But his experiences in the Navy with white sailors and officers equal his experiences with white police officers in Harlem.   In a word, his contacts with...