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The entire novel is in the form of a diary - the authorís experiences during the period when he had temporarily transformed himself into a Negro. The autobiography can be divided into five sections structurally.
As the book begins, Griffin decides to do something really historic and unique -- temporarily become a Negro. In spite of all the warnings of his friends and well wishers, the author is adamant to cross the color line, become a Negro, go into "oblivion," and discover through his own personal experiment in truth, the effects of white racism.
The second part of the autobiography vividly and movingly describes the three long weeks the author travels through the four Southern States of Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama and Georgia. He discovers, how deep and widespread, white racism against the Negro is. The author here gives a very detailed description of his personal experiences as a Negro.
The third part of the autobiography describes the author going back and forth between a Negro and a white. The entries of these three weeks are short and sharp, like the authorís rapid and quick skin color changes and his acutely contrasting experiences as Negro and white.
The fourth part of the autobiography shows the author preparing his materials for publication and then going public with his story in the press, the radio and on TV.
The fifth and final part of the diary is the climax of the book, when all hell breaks loose in Griffinís hometown as his effigy is hung from the center of the main street. Griffin is also threatened with castration. For the security of his family, Griffin is forced to flee from America and go to Mexico.