MILK

I remember the mask being lowered over my nose and mouth. I remember being unable to move, confined within the metaphysical restraints of my mind. The pain searing through my left arm. My eyelids growing heavy with sedation…I can remember hearing  my own blood through my ears. Each wave of warmth becoming more and more faint until…

Clink-clank, clink-clank, clink-clank. I wake up to cold steel on my wrist and my head on a cold floor. Clink-clank. I raise my surprisingly heavy wrist to find a chrome briefcase attached to the other end of the hand cuff. This was definitely not my wisdom teeth removal appointment. I slowly stand up, making sure to not go too fast and risk nausea. It seems that I am in a sort of train cart. Strange, no one rides trains anymore. I pat of the dust on my pants and search my pockets. There’s a crumbled yellow ball in the pack of my pants. Upon unraveling the mysterious note, I discover that it is written in black pen. DON’T FORGET THE MILK. I crumbled the paper back up and toss it down the hall way. What does “don’t forget the milk” even mean? Did I need to pick up some groceries or something? “Whatever, I need to find out where I am and what this case is doing of my wrist” I say out loud. Thus, I begin my trek through the various train cabins.

Ugly. Old. Ugly and Old. All these train cabins look ugly or old or both. What time period am I in? The nineteenth century? I just need to find a way of this train. The next stop is probably a good place to at least find out where I am. Until then, I just need to keep walking through these cabins until I find someone to talk to.

(BOOM)  (CRASH)  (screaming) Picking up the pace, I kick down the door in front of me (surprisingly). Two figures draped with ponchos and bandannas stand in the middle of a crowded carriage, both of them pointing guns in the air and looking in my direction. Actually everyone in the room is looking in my direction (I guess its not just because of my ravishing features). “Hey you! Get on the ground and give me everything you got!” one of the marauders says menacingly. Too confused by whats going on, I just simply do not hear his demands. He points his gun and flicks back the hammer. Oh he’s about to shoot me.

Instinctively, I raise the case in front of me and run down the narrow aisle of the train cabin. (Pop) a bullet whizzes by and hits my briefcase. For some reason I don’t feel the effects and continue charging forward. The run the briefcase into the chest of my assailant. Then is sent sprawling on the ground. His accomplice tries to come to his aid, but just as the raises his gun, a mysterious foot appears. He falls losing his gun in the process. Back to the assailant that I just knocked on the ground, I bash his face with my briefcase. The satisfying crunch and slumping of his head follow. I stand victorious over the men and the cabin explodes into clapping. After the clapping dies down, I look for some one to talk too. I spot an elderly woman dressed in an abnormally large dress with frills. From what I was told, apparently, these guys were some bandits trying to make a profit of the passengers. Bandits? Trains? Frilly dresses? I am not in the twenty-first century. In fact, a kind jessiebelle informs me that its June 7th, 1848.

Remembering my AP U.S. History, I try to blend in with the crowd. Eventually, the train stops at a town called Booneville, and everyone gets off. As I step off train with the briefcase still handcuffed to my arm, a cloud of dust greets me and the sound of a bustling economy welcomes me. This is probably one of the boom towns I heard so much about in class. So that means I should find a saloon to gather information. Only, I don’t exactly look legal. Whatever, people broke rules all the time in this time period right? Upon reaching the saloon, I ask the barmaster for the special. He replies with a snicker and ignores me. Frustrated, I go back into contemplation. Briefcase, handcuff,  milk, 1848. I gain the barmaster’s attention and ask for milk. He arrives with what looks like a Picasso painting in a cup. Nevertheless, I consume it out of sheer desperation. I guess the gross flavor just knocks me out because the next thing I remember is laying on the floor of the Oral Surgeons room.

Enter Ralph Ellison

Watch the interview https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LgC0zZ30kh8.

One of the most interesting aspects of Ellison’s interview came at the beginning of this broadcast. He states that when writing fiction “you need to get a big cut of [America].” This big cut will deliver the minimum sense of variety the diversity. However, he states that being able to deliver a big enough cut is still a challenge. Another interesting aspect of Ellison’s interview was his posture. Although my perception may be skewed due to preconceived notions of watching interviews on CNN, Ellison seems to be quite nonchalant. He rests his hand against his fist and leans sideways on the sofa. When he speaks its almost conversation. Philosophical indeed but nonetheless casual. Again his informal speech is shown through his cursing during an interview.

“There is no United States.” I still struggle with fully comprehending the full complexity behind such a simple statement. It maybe due to the fact that the video quality is poor, or the fact that I missed part of the conversation. However, when Ellison mentions at there is no United States, I personally believe that he was referring to the fact that although we are categorized as American, in reality, Americans are all to distinct from one another. Of course, there is a high chance of my interpretation being too convoluted and incorrect.

“Any kind of statement that I make anytime that my face appears there are a lot of people who are going to be interpreting my face my statement in terms of my racial identity instead of the quality of what I have to say.” Without a doubt, this statement runs true to the era of the interview and possibly today. A common motif in Ellison’s novel is acting upon stereotypes or only measuring worth through appearance than through character. I thoroughly support the notion that Ellison struggled with that issue his entire life, and this struggled ended up in his works. This is still a prevalent issue today because there is still a considerable amount of judging based upon appearance.