Structure

The short story “The Lynching of Jube Benson” by Paul Laurence Dunbar contains an unusual plot diagram. The text does not have a traditional structure, as it is presented as a story within a story.

The beginning of the outer story introduces the setting and characters: “Gordon Fairfax’s library held but three men, but the air was dense with clouds of smoke.” A foreshadowing element which presents Dr. Melville’s reaction to the topic of lynching hints at his past involvement in such an event:

‘Well, I should hardly express it that way,’ said Fairfax, ‘but if a real, live lynching were to come my way, I should not avoid it.’

‘I should,’ spoke the other from the depths of his chair, where he had been puffing in moody silence.

This also foreshadows that...

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