People who look similar, often associate themselves as having the same mindset and thoughts. This is often not true though because every human being is brought up differently and will experience other things than what their twin will experience. This gives them a whole different view on everything they do. Dreamer: A Novel a book by Charles Johnson is about Dr. Martin Luther King and his thoughts during the time he was constructing his civil rights movement. In the book King meets a look alike that is almost an exact replica of him. The name of the person he meets is Chaym Smith. The main thesis of this novel is that, although King and Smith are very unlike, they both need each other very much. King and Smith look exactly alike but are not at all alike in the way they act and how they were raised made them have very different thought processes. The two need each other though because without King having Smith he would not have a twin to cover for himself and Smith would not have a job and would be homeless.
Having a different thought process than someone else is a good thing. If you have two minds that think alike all the time then you can’t have different theories on ideas. King is a well educated man and thinks everything through that he does. Smith has had a much rougher life and is much different on the way he thinks through things. Smith sees a different way of life through people cause he has seen lots of mistreated people. Smith says in the book “There’s two kinds of people in this world. Predators and prey. Lions and lunch” (55). He sees people for what they really are. In the book when Smith is called King by anyone, it makes him very mad. He doesn’t want to be exactly like King and im sure King doesn’t want to be like Smith either.
The two men that look very alike are both very different at the same time because Smith is pronounced as the evil character and King is the good. Having this bad and good transition is very interesting throughout the book. In a review that I looked at by BrothersJudd.com the reviewer of the book says “Johnson plays him off against King with Chaym taking the role of Cain and King of Abel. this allows Johnson room for extended meditations on the Cain/Abel tale, the duality of good and evil, and so on”. After I read this review it showed me that a Cain and Abel reference is a pretty perfect description on what King and Smith are. Arguably I think that having King and Smith so alike make King only more likeable throughout the book and Smith less likeable because Smith does things so abruptly and doesn’t think or blink an eye at what he does, even if he hurts someone.
We don’t see as much of King throughout the book because the author puts more of the story on Chaym Smith. I think the author is telling us that what if King was like Smith would we have ended slavery at all? Its good that we had King because without his calm approach and reasonable thinking then nothing would have been accomplished with someone like smith. KikusReviews.com also reviews the book and in their article they put it as “King’s character is never fully developed. We see him as suffering and conventionally saintly, hardly given any real character at all except that he smokes cigarettes and prefers catfish, pigs’ feet, and collard greens to lobster.” This disappointed me because I wanted to see a bigger relationship between Smith and King and some more information on what king was doing throughout the book.
While many people may think that Smith is going to help King out we find out in the end of the book that the FBI come to take away Smith and King is later shot because he didn’t have his look alike. Without his look alike he had his life taken from him and is then we see that even though Smith may not have been good at least he could have saved someone that had good intentions for equality. Smith had dreams to be like King but had much different views than King so he would be totally different.
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