‘Arrangement in Black and White’ | Analytical essay

Dorothy Parker’s “Arrangement in Black and White” explores the ideals in which class distinctions and racism against black people was prevalent.

The story begins as a narration of dialogue between a woman, her host and a black musician.

The protagonist who is presumed to be a wealthy white woman talks to her host about meeting the man who the party they are attending is held for; Walter Williams.

She talks about how her husband Burton is not fond of black people and the main character is shown to think that she is not racist when in reality she is actually lying to herself.

To continue, the theme of irony is evident in the characterization throughout the story. The main character, a white woman, presents herself as though she has no racial viewpoints.

However, the majority of what the woman says is basically just denying the truth completely.

An example of this is when the character says, “I felt just as natural as I would with anybody” (P.30 L.8-9), shortly followed by “I could hardly keep a straight face” (P.30 L.10).

She says as though she does not see them as any different but clearly points them out when she sees them. The woman makes this clear when she says, “I had no idea she was so terribly dark” (P.29 L.13-14).

The fact that the author uses terribly attached to the word dark indicates that these two words go hand in hand at the time of this story.

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