The beginning of the short story, The Test, by Angelica Gibbs provokes the readerâ€™s attention through early descriptive lines like, â€œWhen they found the boulevard they found it crowded with cars headed for the beaches.â€ (Pg 115) This enables the viewer to picture the scene of the beach and the crowded area. They reader is able to relate to the scene and so therefore they wish to read on.
The main theme in The Test is a very disturbing one of racism. The United States of America is a clever place to set a story thatâ€™s theme covers racism because of Americaâ€™s horrific history and racist past. Though there is not too many lines in the story that give away a theme of racism, one line establishes that Marian is black and Mrs Ericson is white. This line is when Marian is talking to Mrs Ericson and she says, â€œThey probably like it better if a white person shows up with you.â€ Pg 115 Not only does this establish the colour of the main characters but it establishes the racist attitude of the American population in whole and is symbolic of the way America was during the civil war and the white population way of thinking even only back as far as 1940 when this story was set. Other lines that enforce the theme of racism are when the instructor says to Marian, â€œOld enough to have quite a flock of Piccaninnies, eh.â€ This then shows us that the instructor is racist.
The three main characters in this short story are Marian, Mrs Ericson and the driving instructor. Marian is a black young woman and is a wonderful worker who works very hard. This is very evident when Mrs Ericson and Marian are talking and Mrs Ericson exclaims, â€œOh Marian, if I could only pay you half of what youâ€™re worth!â€ Marian is well educated she got a College degree the year before which takes the driving instructor by surprise. We are encouraged to like Marian and respect her for what she is mainly through the dialogue between Mrs Ericson and herself.