Same Kind of Different as Me

Same Kind of Different as Me

by

Ron Hall and Denver Moore

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on Same Kind of Different as Me can help.
The Man Symbol Icon

The Man symbolizes any form of oppression or discrimination that holds back poor people like Denver. Although “the Man” is primarily Denver’s term for any wealthy landowner who leases his property to sharecroppers—and is thus their master—it also becomes the embodiment of systems of racism, slavery, and even poverty that exploit poor individuals and keep them from succeeding. In contrast with traditional slave owners, the Man does not ensnare individuals through legal ownership of their bodies, but through keeping them dependent on his provision for survival, beholden to their debts, too poor to move on and ignorant of other opportunities to succeed or develop themselves.

Although it would be easy to merely demonize the Man, both Ron and Denver are careful to provide a balanced perspective and recognize that, as oppressive as the Man is, he is ultimately human, with the same mixture of good and bad qualities as any human being. In Denver’s experience, the Man holds him in dependent, subjugated condition and keeps him utterly ignorant of the world around him, and yet lets him earn a new bicycle as a child and gives him a place to stay on his property as an adult. As a child, Denver’s best friend, Bobby, is the Man’s son and is a loving and self-sacrificing companion to Denver. In the same way, although Ron initially hates the Man as an oppressive figure of Denver’s past, he realizes that his granddaddy, himself a cotton farmer though not a sharecropper, was rather similar to the Man—even though he paid a fair wage to his black workers, he was still deeply racist. In this depiction, the story casts the Man not as an utterly villainous figure, but a human being who inherits and participates in an exploitative, oppressive system.

The Man Quotes in Same Kind of Different as Me

The Same Kind of Different as Me quotes below all refer to the symbol of The Man. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Slavery and Racism Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Thomas Nelson edition of Same Kind of Different as Me published in 2006.
Chapter 1 Quotes

Folks say the bayou in Red River Parish is full to its pea-green brim with the splintery bones of colored folks that white men done fed to the gators for covetin their women, or maybe just lookin cross-eyed. Wadn’t like it happened ever day. But the chance of it, the threat of it, hung over the cotton fields like a ghost.

Related Characters: Denver Moore (speaker)
Related Symbols: The Man
Page Number: 3
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 5 Quotes

A lotta folks called [sharecropping] a new kinda slavery. Lotta croppers (even white ones, what few there was in Louisiana) didn’t have just one massa, thye had two. The first massa was the Man that owned the land you was workin. The second massa was whoever owned the store where you got your goods on credit. Someimes both a’ them was the same Man; sometimes it was a different Man.

Related Characters: Denver Moore (speaker)
Related Symbols: The Man
Page Number: 29
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 7 Quotes

Purty soon [Bobby’s] people figured out we was friends, but they didn’t really try to keep us from associatin, ‘specially since I was the only boy on the place right around his age and he needed somebody to play with and keep outta trouble. They detected he was givin me food, so they put a little wood table outside the back door for met to eat on. After a while, once Bobby’d get his food, he’d come right on out and me and him’d sit at that little table and eat together.

Related Characters: Denver Moore (speaker), Bobby
Related Symbols: The Man
Page Number: 39-40
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 13 Quotes

It got to be the 1960s. All them years I worked for them plantations, the Man didn’t tell me there was colored schools I coulda gone to, or that I coulda learned a trade […] I didn’t know about World War II, the war in Korea, or the one in Vietnam. And I didn’t know colored folks had been risin up all around Louisiana for years, demandin better treatment.

I didn’t know I was different.

Related Characters: Denver Moore (speaker)
Related Symbols: The Man
Page Number: 64
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 18 Quotes

It seemed manipulative to me to make the hungry sit like good dogs for their supper. And it did not surprise me that even when Brother Bill split the air with one of his more rousing sermons, not a single soul ever burst through the chapel doors waving their hands and praising Jesus. At least not while we were there.

Related Characters: Ron Hall (speaker), Deborah Hall
Related Symbols: The Man
Page Number: 86
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 24 Quotes

It was at Starbucks that I learned about twentieth-century slavery. Not the slavery of auction blocks, of young blacks led away in ropes and chains. Instead, it was a slavery of debt-bondage, poverty, ignorance, and exploitation. A slavery in which the Man, of whom Denver’s “Man” was only one among many, held all the cards and dealt them mostly from the bottom of the deck, the way his daddy had taught him, and his granddaddy before that.

Related Characters: Ron Hall (speaker), Denver Moore, Granddaddy / Jack Brooks
Related Symbols: The Man
Page Number: 110
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 63 Quotes

What kind of man was the Man? For decades, one Man kept sharecroppers barefoot and poor, but let a little colored boy earn a brand-new red Schwinn. Another Man let an old black woman live on his place rent-free long after she’d stopped working in the fields. A third Man kept Denver ignorant and dependent, but provided for him well beyond the time he probably could have done without his labor.

Related Characters: Ron Hall (speaker), Denver Moore
Related Symbols: The Man
Page Number: 218
Explanation and Analysis:
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The Man Symbol Timeline in Same Kind of Different as Me

The timeline below shows where the symbol The Man appears in Same Kind of Different as Me. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 3
Slavery and Racism Theme Icon
Denver explains the concept of sharecropping: the Man owns the farm land and sells the clothing, seeds, equipment, and everything else a sharecropper... (full context)
Chapter 5
Slavery and Racism Theme Icon
...the four of them work hard, harvesting more and more cotton each year. Even so, the Man keeps extending Uncle James’s debt. After a few years of no pay, Uncle James moves... (full context)
Slavery and Racism Theme Icon
Homelessness Theme Icon
...grows her own garden, and the family receives milk in exchange for taking care of the Man ’s cows, and two hogs a year that they raise and kill at Christmas time,... (full context)
Chapter 7
Slavery and Racism Theme Icon
...his first cotton sack. Every day, when he brings in the cotton he has picked, the Man says it’s about twenty pounds, no matter how long or hard Denver has worked or... (full context)
Slavery and Racism Theme Icon
Reconciliation Theme Icon
...even helps Denver pick extra cotton scraps in the evenings for three years to trade the Man for a new Schwinn bicycle for Denver to ride. Denver recalls, “That Schwinn was the... (full context)
Chapter 13
Slavery and Racism Theme Icon
...and a slave by all counts. To Denver, the worst thing about sharecropping is that the Man purposefully keeps his workers ignorant and unskilled, unable to do anything but pick cotton. Before... (full context)
Slavery and Racism Theme Icon
Denver works the Man ’s land for almost thirty years, never receiving a paycheck. He never realizes that there... (full context)
Chapter 24
Slavery and Racism Theme Icon
Homelessness Theme Icon
Reconciliation Theme Icon
...Denver and people like him have been controlled through ignorance, debt bondage, and slavery by the Man , “of whom Denver’s ‘Man’ was only one among many.” After the Emancipation Proclamation was... (full context)
Slavery and Racism Theme Icon
Homelessness Theme Icon
Reconciliation Theme Icon
As Ron learns, he becomes enraged about the Man and hates him, telling Denver’s story to “anyone who would listen.” However, after some weeks,... (full context)
Chapter 28
Homelessness Theme Icon
Reconciliation Theme Icon
Christian Faith Theme Icon
...Ron goes to see him. It turns out that Denver had been nervous about “using the Man ’s bathroom” at the retreat, and had held in his bowels for so long that... (full context)
Chapter 63
Slavery and Racism Theme Icon
Ron picks up his narration. The contrast between the Man ’s large, elegant house and Denver’s tiny shack “disgust[s]” Ron. As they drive to Denver’s... (full context)