Story centers on Saul Saunders who was born into a world that was split into two (i.e., a Black world and a White world). From the beginning of the story, he perceives the world as a shadowy and unreal place. The White people viewed him as inferior; however, he did not feel that way at all. He was portrayed as kind, attentive, quiet, and loyal but immensely afraid.
This fear drove him to drinking. When he took a drink of whiskey he found that it helped banish his shadows; it made him feel complete. Nevertheless, the drinking truly depressed him. Sanders also had many jobs: he worked on the farm, as a chauffeur, as a butler, and as a janitor at the library. A White woman would frequent this library and stare at him.
One day, she told his boss that he never cleaned under her desk. The next day, she was staring at him again and this time, he stared back. The woman then asked him why he never cleans under her desk and he replied that he did. Strangely enough, she called him over to her and pulled her skirt up. Saunders expressed to the woman that he did not like that and slapped her in the face.
She began to scream and he couldn’t handle it. Sanders tried several things to get the woman to stop screaming; however, the only way he could fathom to do so was to kill her. He did not want to kill this woman but he did want her to stop screaming. Afterward, Saunders acted as if nothing happened but eventually the police caught up to him.
At his hearing, Sanders was amazed at how peaceful and relaxed he was. Ultimately, his disposition changed because he finally stopped fighting the world of shadows.
HBD Richard Wright!