Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man

Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man

by

James Weldon Johnson

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A German folk tale that has been widely adapted to literature, theater, and film, most notably in two plays: Christopher Marlowe’s The Tragical History of Dr. Faustus (1592) and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s Faust (published in two parts in 1808 and 1832). The operatic version that the narrator attends in chapter nine was French composer Charles Gounod’s adaptation of an adaptation of Goethe’s version of the tale. The story recounts an aging, brilliant but unsatisfied scholar who decides to sell his soul to the devil in return for unbridled power and knowledge.

Faust Quotes in Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man

The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man quotes below are all either spoken by Faust or refer to Faust. For each quote, you can also see the other terms and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Racism and the Color Line Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the W.W. Norton edition of Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man published in 2015.
Chapter 9 Quotes

My glance immediately turned into a stare. Yes, there he was, unmistakably, my father! looking hardly a day older than when I had seen him some ten years before. What a strange coincidence! What should I say to him? What would he say to me? Before I had recovered from my first surprise, there came another shock in the realization that the beautiful, tender girl at my side was my sister. Then all the springs of affection in my heart, stopped since my mother's death, burst out in fresh and terrible torrents, and I could have fallen at her feet and worshiped her. They were singing the second act, but I did not hear the music. Slowly the desolate loneliness of my position became clear to me.

Page Number: 70
Explanation and Analysis:
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Faust Term Timeline in Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man

The timeline below shows where the term Faust appears in Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 9
Collective Progress and Individual Achievement Theme Icon
Music, Emotion, and American Culture Theme Icon
Secrecy, Purity, and Origins Theme Icon
One night, watching Faust at the Grand Opera, the narrator became enamored with an English-speaking girl sitting next to... (full context)