Delphine Roux calls Coleman to her office to discuss an earlier incident, in which Coleman allegedly uses “‘engendered language'” (191) to address a female student. In the same conversation, he repeats the term he presumably uses with the student, “dear,” to address Delphine, and disparages feminist perspectives on classical literature.
Coleman’s bristling personality here is interesting when put into context with what we learn of him from the previous chapter. As a boxer, Coleman learned to act first and think later. When he breaks ties with his mother, he sees it as “a moment to deepen his focus on what he was there to achieve. If disowning him was a choice foreclosed to her, then taking the blow was all she could do” (138). As long as it is the only option to do right by himself, he is willing to hurt others; and if he must hurt others, he owes it to them to do it directly.
What is the relationship between Coleman’s treatment of his family and his treatment of his students and of Delphine? Is his dismissal of the charges in line with or a reaction to the difficulties he’s faced in the past?
And finally, given that Zuckerman was not present during any confrontations between Coleman and Delphine, why would he choose to make Coleman so disagreeable? Why isn’t Zuckerman’s Coleman a victim?