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Gideon

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Gideon

by Wells Hastings

Genre: Comedy
Setting:
Format of Original Source: Short Story
Recommended Adaptation Length: Two Hours

Candidate for Adaptation? Promising

EXCERPT:

“Running away has always been inherent in the negro. He gave one regretful thought to the gorgeous wardrobe he was leaving behind him; but he dared not return for it.”



COMMENTS:

The author exhibits a strange respect/ignorance for the central character, which might be a strength, if you’re not afraid of it. The character is a black man who’s found success on the vaudeville circuit, and he’s well-respected and contented. But he’s growing old and wants to return to his roots in the South, and here’s where the author’s peculiar point of view kicks in: as Gideon comes back to the South, he realizes how much he misses his old poor life, and he regresses before our eyes, becoming more and more happy, but more and more stereotyped, simple-minded and even sub-human. He eventually becomes homeless and commits a rather shocking crime — which we’re meant to understand and even cheer for. The story is ultimately racist and undoubtedly unpalatable to the modern audience, but there’s a power and humanity in this story, if you can tame it.


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