1. Whitehead definitely makes a relationship between knowledge and race throughout the novel. It seems that he makes the white people think they are smarter than the blacks, yet he gives the blacks more knowledge and instinct. One of the first examples I noticed was when Lila Mae inspects Walker 125 and the super (a white man) slips three twenty dollar bills in her pocket.
She says to him “You placed sixty dollars in my pocket.I don’t think I implied by my behavior that I wanted you to bribe me, nor have I made any statement or gesture…If you want to give away your hard-earned money I see it as a curious, although in this case fortuitous, habit of yours that has nothing whatsoever to do with me. ”(8) Another example of knowledge and race is Fulton. All of the elevator inspectors believe him to be very knowledgable and all want his “perfect elevator”. They also all believe that he is a white man when in actualitity he is half white half black.I think that if people had known this they probably wouldn’t have taken his written word so seriously. 2. I personally identify with Intuitionism more, however I do tend to use both.
For my job I rely on my intuition more. In the field of phlebotomy I can’t see where a persons vein may always be under their skin. I have to close my eyes and palpate, I rely more on what I feel. I have to go with my insticts instead of what I know. Knowledge can help you find the general area, but it is your instict that will guide you to the vein.This is very similar to what Lila Mae does with the elevator at 125 Walker.
She know that this elevator has a faulty overspeed governer. She can feel this as “vibrations massaging her back”(6). She explains how “Everyone has their own set of genies. Depends on how your brain works”(6). For her they are geometrical shapes that she sees through the vibrations.
For me it is like having “x-ray” vision where I can imagine looking right through someones arm by touching and being able to look at their veins. This is why I would say I am more of an Intuitionist.3.
I think that the “perfect elevator” and “ the second elevation” is mostly a metaphor for race relations. The extracts from Fulton’s book Theoretical Elevators, Volume II, that appear throughout the novel show how Fulton approached his work. He writes about the elevators as if they were living things. I think this is important to us as the reader because it kind of gives us an insight to what the race relations were back in the 1950s. Fulton says “Our present elevators are weak and unpredictable, humans have to make themselves conform to the elevator’s physical limitations.What is needed is renegotioation ‘of our relationsip with objects. ’ The perfect elevator would be constructed not from the human point of view but from the view of the elevator.
”(185) I think that in this story the elevator is the relationship between the whites and the blacks. When the elevator breaks it refers to racial tension. The idea of the “perfect elevator” is like having the perfect world where race is not an issue, where everone just simply gets along.