Always Outnumbered, Always Outgunned
Criminology is something which clicks the attention of most of the general population; is it the violence involved in it, the twist and the tales of its novels, the mystery of the events or the lethal action which grasps one’s attention, cannot me generalized; however, the aspect that criminal fiction is most read cannot be ignored. Sociologists believe that man is amused by such tales because he himself is scared of performing such act of crime and thus hears the stories of the law breakers who did so, and get fascinated.
Since centuries, crime fiction has been read and written with great zest throughout the world, with its popularity always increasing; however we see that the conventional style of writing these stories never really changes. It always revolves against the same plot of an innocent victim, with the murderer on leash, a detective out on a lethal hunt and in the end justice winning over crime.
What however, does change in these stories is the name of the characters placed in, the placement of the story and the time period of the setting. It seems to be blocked in a codified genre, which envelopes the entire entire fiction scenario. They all revolve around the conventional stories of Agatha Christie, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle or series such as the Nancy Drew, which try keeping people involved in their predictable mysteries.
However, I would like to mention here a great book of art, which does not only break the boundaries of conventional crime writing system, but also made people search for greater works of crime providing a platform of a complete new perspective. The book “Always Out numbered, Always Gunned,” written by Walter Mosley, is one such stories of bewilderment. Walter Mosley, an African American, is known for his work being unpredictable and unexpected. Through creating best selling thriller mysteries he has been able to break the barrier of the white arena of criminal novels; and has brought him such fame which usually is missed onto crime writers.
His book “Always Outnumbered, Always Gunned,” which he wrote in 1998, is one of the most acclaimed ones. The protagonist of the fiction, Socrates Fortlow, is an African American, who has been recently released from the prisons, after serving 27 years under the conviction of rape and homicide, while now he is slowly trying to fit himself back into the community. Now he lives in a house of two rooms, cooking and living on his own, while he quietly tries to wrestle with his own demons chasing him from his past.
The fiction talks about the issues that Socrates faces around his span of life, living in a society which believes in thee conventional stereotypes against the blacks. With a violent past and an unstable future Socrates tries to search for ways to adjust into the society.
The short stories of the book are based upon the conflicting topics in the black community, for example gang riots, weak family systems without fathers, the economical chaos prevailing in many families, drug dealing and the relationship conflicts between the black men and women.
As the name implies us back to the Greek philosopher Socrates, the fictional character is a symbol of constant search for the truth. He wants to find his moral values in an already corrupted society so as to find the truth of his existence the meaning of being a part of the world, and this is thus the criminal fiction, the climax of the story which the author carefully presents.
The story also points up another important fact of Socrates life that he doe not realize what he was falling wrong at and what he had learnt from his past mistakes until he was out of the evil lock down, out to live in the real world of hidden violence and hatred. It is their that he learnt how to control his inner anger and how he could tame his self into a better man not only for his own betterment but also for the society which owned him, his own people.
And this is what made Socrates the hero for the society which mushrooms hatred, where he thought about the consequences for himself, but questioned them for the sake of benefits of the others.
Another gripping part of the story is Socrates hands, not only they have been responsible for a murder, but also could bee used for great skills which he still holds to acquire. Each day Socrates holds the burden of murder on his shoulders, feeling guilty for it, and wanting to pay for redemption for his faults.
The author caters to a much more general form of audience through this book. All fourteen short stories compiled in this book, help them think of how Socrates would deal with such a criminal situation if he was stuck in one of such a type. Thus making people ponder and implement his values into their own lives.
The book has been also scripted to be featured into a movie.
“Always outnumbered, always outgunned” is a reality check into a normal mans life, a script which makes one question his own position in the society and as a human in a very mysterious note. It is definitely able to break the conventional barriers of criminology fiction, as it does not contain any detective story; however it is certainly a page turner, as the mystery slowly unravels itself as Socrates moves through phases of poverty, crime, morality, and chaos.
Mosley, W. (October, 1998). Always Outnumbered, Always Outgunned. Washington Square Press ISBN-13: 978-0671014995