Working from before conception to the arrival at a drumming ceremony, our narrator walks the reader through a Thomas–the character the reader becomes–offers some insight into turning-up when you’re ashamed to do so.
Despite using a 2nd-person narrator, the narration was intimate and revealing; several moments of figurative language are thoughtful and witty.
The chip you carry has to do with being born and raised in Oakland. A concrete chip, a slab, really, heavy on one side, the half side, the not-white side. As for your mom’s side, as for your whiteness, there’s too much and not enough there to know what to do with. You’re from a people who took and took and took and took. And from a people taken. You’re both and neither. In the bath, you’d stare at your brown arms against your white legs in the water and wonder what they were doing together on the same body, in the same bathtub.
The metaphors and analogies throughout are intelligent and thoughtful, so this’ll speak to anyone in love with literature, oh!, or anyone who ever used Aqua Net in the Nineties to coif “their hair three inches in the air, curled over like a breaking wave”.
[Lessons in need of examining figurative language, allusions, and symbolism, may find examining this story rewarding.]
The State by Tommy Orange