« How sleeps the beast », Don Tracy

Anyone who was in my class in 10th grade is probably going to be like « Again ? » but I have to admit we read pretty good books that year so after « The island of Dr. Moreau » here is an article on « How sleeps the beast » by Don Tracy which was released in 1938 ine the USA and 1951 in France.
I’m pretty sure this book could fit  the notion « The writer in his time ». It tells us the story of a young african-american whose name is Jim, one night drunk and lonely he gives into violence and end up murdering a white woman. A crime, yes but that’s not what the author denounces even though he never decreases the guilt and responsibilty of Jim in what happened. But for any crime in a democratic country a criminal has the right to have a trial before the sentence is pronounced.
Jim never got a trial. Why ? Because this period was filled with racism and people turned this event into a reason to let out their anger, to feed the beast and its thirst for blood. How ? By taking Jim out of prison and lead him to lynching.
You probably understood by now this book is nothing like a gentle novel, it’s tough, rough, brutal and it contains scenes of an incredible violence even if their sometimes unexplicit. But even considering this I loved this novel obviously not because of the story line which is quite disturbing but because of every societal problem the novel deals with. Racism, savagery with group violence, cowardice with our submission to the common behaviour to garantee our own safety. « The writer in his time » maybe but those problems have no time, and maybe if more people read novels such as this one they could understand that looking away is our biggest problem, because every time you do so you let it happen again.
On the whole, I fiercely recommand this book, because the beast is truly sleeping in each of us and it’s not alone our humanity is in there with it and maybe its time for it to come the surface and keep the beast in its cage before it’s too late.

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