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‘Night Walker’ by Brent Staples is a personal narrative in which the theme is considered to be don’t assume who they are just on the appearance of a person. ‘Night Walker’ is about an African American man who has insomnia. To cope with this, he takes walks throughout the city he lives in to tire himself so that he can sleep. However, since he grew up in a small city, he had never faced problems in being an African American in the United States. Living in Chicago, he starts to face the challenges of being an African American.

During these night walks, he runs into the people of the city. These people usually have the same first impression of him. A dangerous person is often thought of as him. He’s 6’2 broad and African American. In the narrative, he quotes a woman he met on one of his midnight walks. “She cast back a worried glance. To her, the youngish black man – a broad six feet two inches with a beard and billowing hair, both hands shoved into the pockets of a bulky military jacket – seemed menacingly close. She picked up her pace and was soon running in earnest. Within seconds she disappeared into a cross street”. We can infer from the woman’s quick pace that she was intimidated by Brent Staples. This is a clear indicator that he was judged on his appearance.

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However, in this personal narrative, we can find the theme through deeper analyses. In ‘Night Walker’, the author talks about how he grew up in a small town in Pennsylvania. While talking about his home life, he states that he is “as a softy who is scarcely able to take a knife to a raw chicken”. With the statement, we understand that Brent is uncomfortable with the stereotype he is given. His saying he is a soft person lets us infer that people accusing him of being a criminal will cause frustration. Since he never intends to hurt people.

In conclusion, the story of Brent Staples is about a troubled African American that suffers from stereotypes, insomnia, and other problems. He takes walks around at night to help his insomnia and gets judged daily. We know this because a woman walking ahead of him runs into the night. It affects his self-esteem because he talks about how he is a soft person. Brent Staples shows his theme by expressing the pain he endured in his youth.

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Review of Brent Staples’ Personal Narrative ‘Night Walker’.
(2023, November 15). Edubirdie. Retrieved January 21, 2024, from

“Review of Brent Staples’ Personal Narrative ‘Night Walker’.” Edubirdie, 15 Nov. 2023,

Review of Brent Staples’ Personal Narrative ‘Night Walker’. [online].
Available at: <> [Accessed 21 Jan. 2024].

Review of Brent Staples’ Personal Narrative ‘Night Walker’ [Internet]. Edubirdie.
2023 Nov 15 [cited 2024 Jan 21].
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