Topdog/Underdog is a very interesting book that taught me more about symbolism in writing, the importance of brotherhood and family in people’s lives. First, It’s very interesting to see how Link and booth symbolize Abraham Lincoln and John Wilkes. For example, Lincoln always wore “the getup” that made him look cool and attractive. President Lincoln was also famous for wearing a suit and this shows how the character Lincoln was possibly interested in the former president Lincoln who believed in equality and ended slavery. On the other hand, Booth represented John Wilkes Booth by stealing from stores, and being a murderer. In addition, the character Booth murder the character Lincoln and this made me realize some ideas that the author Suzan- Lori Parks wanted to share with the reader. One of the ideas is the importance of money in people’s lives and how it can cause people to murder others. Also, it’s very interesting to see how Booth never liked seeing Lincoln at home with the getup: “I don’t like you wearing that bullshit, that shit that bull that disguise that getup that motherdisfuckingguise anyware” (Park, Topdog/Underdog 13). I think that Booth didn’t like seeing Lincoln, look like the president Lincoln who cared about equality and ended slavery. The getup symbolized president Lincoln’s ideas that Booth never liked and might have played a role to make him hate his brother and murder him.
Second, the book also shows the importance of brotherhood during tough financial situations. For example, Link, who was the older brother, always shared whatever he made each week with his younger brother who was not as motivated to work as his older brother. In addition, it shows how brothers can support each other during some family situations. For example, when Booth and Link’s parent decided to separate, Booth told Lincoln brother how he felt strong to accept his parents’ separation because his older brother was there to support him. . This reminds me of myself and my brother by showing how brothers support each other during family issues. Finally, the book shows the importance of family and parents in their children’s lives. For example, the separation of parents can always cause some mental health issues or depression to the children. Lincoln in scene one sings “My dear mother left me, my father’s gone away…Ain’t got money, I ain’t got no place to stay” (28). Furthermore, Booth and Lincoln’s lives could have changed if they lived in a family that loved them and supported them. However, Booth had to steal and Lincoln had to work at a dangerous place just to live a fair life.
I enjoyed reading this book and learning a little about the assassination of the president Lincoln. Now, I’m really interested to see the play next week. My question for this week is, what did inspire Suzan Lori Parks to write this novel and why did she represent the former president Lincoln and Booth as two African brothers?