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“A Solo Song: For Doc” by James Alan Mcpherson


Human society is a rather specific thing and no one can understand all its processes and reasons for acting this or that way. Sometimes, such terrible things as dishonesty, discrimination, and immorality become natural and usual for people around us. These aspects of the same problem – lack humane qualities in human beings – can be observed to the greatest extent in the hardships that people of color have to experience. The story by a famous African American writer James Alan McPherson is one of the brightest reflections of these issues in literature, and this paper will focus on its analysis.

Main text

Having read the story under consideration, I have got a dual impression from it. On the one hand, it is a skillful work by a famous writer, and it is considered to be one of the greatest short stories ever. But on the other hand, the phenomena described in this story are terrible, and understanding the fact that those phenomena are real for the day-to-day lives of many people in reality, not only for the story characters, makes this story horrifying to some extent. The lives and hardships of the elderly waiter Doc Craft and people around him give a lot of information to think over and rearrange in our society. Thus, in my opinion, the story by James McPherson is rather thought-provoking and useful for society’s development.

To make this analysis more complete, a summary of the story will be helpful. It depicts the hard life of an aged waiter named Doc Craft, who has a family and has to feed it but social prejudice, bureaucracy, and dishonesty make obstacles in his way.

The setting is the mid-1960s and racial discrimination is in force worsening greatly the quality of lives of people of color. The story is delivered by a waiter who came to know about it from his colleague, and the point of view of the narrator is rather similar to the Doc’s one – he is against inequality and defects of the social system but can not change it alone and just tells the story, calmly developing the conflict between dignity and honesty and social norm of immorality (McPherson, 2001).

I am strongly convinced that depicting numerous facts of social corruption, immorality and other defects of the society, the author of this story tries to demonstrate that great changes are needed in the very organization of human society and public attitudes towards people who differ from others in some aspects. These are not necessarily race or gender, but also religion, social status, sexual preferences, and so on.

Consequently, the depiction of an immoral and dishonest society is the means of waking people up to improve the situation. The author says that all the possible defects of human personalities are observed in modern society and are considered usual nowadays (McPherson, 2001). Thus, the story by McPherson is an alarm that is to show people how difficult the situation is. The major point of McPherson’s story is the necessity of change and the character of Doc is an embodiment of patience that people have fighting dishonesty and waiting for this change. In this respect, it is similar to the colonel from “No One Writes to the Colonel” by Marquez. This character is also patiently waiting for positive change, although the time of its coming is unknown (Marquez, 2005).

To conclude, the story by James Alan McPherson is rather dramatic and thought-provoking. It depicts the struggle and decline of Doc Craft against the immoral and prejudiced society. The author skillfully renders the atmosphere of hopelessness but aims at reviving hope in the readers by this means. Modern society is filled with immorality and prejudice, and “A Solo Song: for Doc” is one of the best works that manifest the necessity of change to this situation.

Works Cited

Marquez, Gabriel Garzia. No One Writes to the Colonel and Other Stories. Harper Perennial, 2005.

McPherson, James Alan. Hue and Cry: Stories. Harper Perennial, 2001.

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"“A Solo Song: For Doc” by James Alan Mcpherson." StudyKraken, 20 Sept. 2021,

1. StudyKraken. "“A Solo Song: For Doc” by James Alan Mcpherson." September 20, 2021.


StudyKraken. "“A Solo Song: For Doc” by James Alan Mcpherson." September 20, 2021.


StudyKraken. 2021. "“A Solo Song: For Doc” by James Alan Mcpherson." September 20, 2021.


StudyKraken. (2021) '“A Solo Song: For Doc” by James Alan Mcpherson'. 20 September.

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