Bob Berry
Bob Berry asked:

Do you think that Toole "pulls off" a the major black character without cartoonish stereotyping ?

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Dolores Andral "Ooo-wee"and "whoa" got tiring really fast. But every character was painted with such broad-strokes buffoonery it's hard to just focus on that character. I mean, homosexuals must me writhing in their skin with the type of singular one-dimensional characterization Mr. Toole gave them.
But because everyone was equally stereotyped and lampooned it didn't come off as offensive.
Lee Dunning Considering that pretty much every character in the story is an outlandish, cartoonish stereotype, I'm not sure singling out that particular character is fruitful.
Adam I think his presentation was stereotyped, but his actions and attitudes were very humane. Maybe he was aimed at the racists-of-the-day who would guffaw over 'those shiftless darkies', but, as the story unfolds, hopefully come to a sympathetic understanding of the character and the unique and unfair challenges he faces as a black man in 1960's New Orleans. Jones was actually one of the least ridiculous characters in the book once you got past his accent.
Grace Every character in the book is unique and over-the-top; that is the point, I think, of this satire. It is meant to be humorous while at the same time making subtle statements about the social/racial issues of the time. It is exactly what it set out to be by the author and that is why it's brilliant and unique and why it won the Pulitzer Prize.
Chris Perhaps, but I think Jones was a very cunning character. He may have come off as a bit of a doofus, but it was fun watching him figure out how to ruin Lana Lee.
Gabriel You have to take into account the time period it was written and the caricature nature of the narrative at large. Yes, it's overdone. Yes, it's a bit offensive, but so is the portrayal of an office manager, a bar owner, the elderly, the's not a racist attack. It's just a goof on all the characters.
Ryan Linguists say he nailed the black dialect of that region and that time.
Mystique Not even a little bit. I think the character is inauthentic. Lee and Dolores (below) have a point - every character is cartoonish - but if the question is, "Is this character cartoonish and stereotyped?" The answer must be, "Absolutely."
Deb Of all the characters, Jones comes closest to subverting the cartoon by being acutely aware of the racism he is surrounded by. The dialect is cartoonish and offensive, but so is all the dialect. You don’t see many contemporary writers using dialect, perhaps because they realize it is distracting, often offensive, and just hard to pull off. The “cartoonish stereotyping” of all the characters is one of the reasons I did not enjoy the book. It just did not tickle my funny bone.
David Absalom I'm in the "hood" on a regular basis and I see a Jones somewhere whenever I'm there. I know a few like him. "Stereotype"? Sure. But as Tony Brown once said on an edition of Tony Brown's Journal about stereotyping, there is always a basis for it whether it be race, nationality, religion, etc. Jones is too real for me to be a "stereotype." His "type" is just one of many. A successful black Harvard grad wouldn't be sweeping floors or being harassed by the police.
Sean I will add to the general chorus of "all the characters are so cartoonishly presented..." with this: He reminded me of a few real people I actually knew when I was a child, so coupling the general cartoonishness with the actual presence of at least a few people who talk like that (or who used to 50 years ago), it's OK.
Nancy Toler The whole book is a cartoonish stereotype, isn't that the point? Is is fiction by the way!
Jackmccullough No.

In fact, the very same thing could be said of every single character in the novel. Not a single character is believable, either in presentation, action, or motivation.

As you may guess, this is one of the reasons I consider this novel to be such a disappointment and disaster.
Paulina Pinsky I think that if the major black character were the only one being treated with cartoonish stereotyping, then I would pipe up. But everyone, and I mean EVERYONE is treated as a cartoonish stereotype. And since everyone is treated in this way, it doesn't stick out like a sore thumb.

I'd say that it's hard to take any of the characters seriously. They're all deeply unlikeable or border-line unbearable. They monologue at the drop of a hat, and those who don't monologue are downright pitiful. There's a fine line between caricature and downright exploitation. I don't feel as though Jones's characterization landed in the exploitation category. Even though Jones can't stop saying "Ooo-wee" and "whoa", it warrants saying that he's one of the only ones that speaks the truth.
Patrick O'Hannigan Jones is my favorite character in the book, and once you get past his verbal tics, you'll see that that Toole wrote him with a fierce and humorous intelligence. The dignity that Jones has is camouflaged by his dialect in just the same way that his smoking and sunglasses help him keep a low public profile. Ignatius thinks he's smart, but Jones is arguably smarter, and wise beyond his years (think "Phones down at the precinct be hummin,' " and his puzzlement at the unusual predicament of an obviously educated white man like Ignatius: "How come a white cat like you, talkin' so good, sellin' weenies?")
Daniel Garwood No, the character of Jones, the major black character, is deliberately used by Toole to act out a stereotype. Toole 'pulls off' Jones WITH cartoonish stereotyping. Characters are used satirically to stereotype strata in the social hierarchy of the time.
Mebalzahari Does a phenomenal job.
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