• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Langston Hughes's The Ways of White Folks,

Extracts from this document...


In Langston Hughes's The Ways of White Folks, Hughes illustrates the deepest feelings of resistance and frustration from blacks towards the white-American society in which they live. By analyzing only a few of his short stories, one can see the techniques Hughes used to show the treatment of blacks in different geographical locations, class roles, and also in those musically inclined. In his stories, he blurs the racial line that separates the North and South United States while at the same time accentuating the racial limitations between The United States and Europe. He also illustrates that though the treatment of blacks by the upper class appears to be less violent than that of the lower classes, it offers the same, if not more, belittling condescension. In addition, Hughes also demonstrates, through the medium of music, the ironic hypocrisy and envy of many American whites towards artistically talented blacks. With these strategies, Hughes attacks the issue of race, which defines the social relationships in America today. The distinctions made of the geographical settings in Hughes' work are separated into the possibilities and limitations of blacks in America as compared to their possibilities and limitations in Europe. This distinction is most emphasized in Hughes's story "Poor Little Black Fellow." ...read more.


Mr. Lloyd gladly gives the narrator a generous salary, helping him to pay for college. When one of Mr. Lloyd's many girls calls him a "darkie" and a "nigger," Mr. Lloyd responds saying, "This is no ordinary boy, Lucille. True, he's my servant, but I've got him in Columbia studying to be a dentist, and he's just as white inside as he is black," (59). Mr. Lloyd shows little concern for racial boundaries, but he still exhibits other immoral actions by hitting many of the girls he brings back with him. The fact that he even pursues other girls is immoral because he has a wife who is paralyzed. The narrator appears very grateful toward Mr. Lloyd, however, until he brings back Pauline, a speakeasy singer from Harlem. Mr. Lloyd appears completely enthralled by her, despite the fact that she is black, and he pours his money into her. She tells the narrator that she is using Mr. Lloyd for the money, and that she has a man whom she is in love with: "'You've got to kid white folks along,' she said to me. 'When you're depending on 'em for a living, make 'em think you like it,'" (62). Pauline then endorses her hatred toward whites when she says, "I laugh with 'em and they think I like 'em. ...read more.


Roy is trapped in this racial margin of Negroes who have money from, in his case, their musical talents. Had he not exploited these talents and ascended the money tree, he might have lived, but he also would never have seen Europe or nice clothes on his back or even open-minded, impartial white people. Perhaps Hughes' is trying to make the reader ask the question of 'why?' As is evident throughout Hughes' work, the racial identity of blacks is a limitation as well as a prospect in which their resistance and frustration is truly emphasized. Through the implements of geographical settings, Hughes' gives a view of the impartialness of Europe as compared to the deep-seated hatred of the United States. Even the seemingly indifferent portrayal of the bourgeoisie has its prejudices and motivations. It even appears as though blacks are categorized and stereotyped by all white Americans into a separate and foreign class of their own (a distinction that actually promotes the emergence of black essentialism and identity). This identity is one that is not achieved without loss, as is shown through the difficulties of the musically gifted in Hughes' work. The portrait of race that Hughes paints compels the notion that race is an issue that has run far deeper than any other human emotion and understanding; ultimately defining, whether consciously or unconsciously, all social relationships. Kim Velez A. Simon 20th Century Civilizations I Final Essay 1 ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Sociology section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Sociology essays

  1. Compare and Contrast the representation of female characters in Snow White and Mulan. To ...

    The one non-absent mother is Mulan's, but she only plays an inoperative role in the story and poses no threat to her daughter's autonomy. I would therefore argue that Disney has not moved with the times, if Disney had we would expect mothers (older women)

  2. The ancient civilizations of Central and South America

    They had an average height of about four feet eight, and they were quite petite or delicate. The only fact that surprised me is that women worked almost as hard as the men did. They would be right behind their husband or father in helping him with anything they could manage.

  1. In our time - Through an exquisite combination of literary technique and absurd realism, ...

    In the majority of the story, she is either ignored by her son and daughter in law, or rudely criticized by her grandchildren. The grandchildren are representative of the breakdown of respect and filial dependence seen throughout society. However, O'Connor also wanted to demonstrate the counterbalance to this concept: 'In

  2. Ancient American civilizations

    The intermediate level of civilization is the chiefdom. This level also relied on subsistence farming, like the tribal, but in much larger villages and more intensively.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work