Chester Himes’ If He Hollers Let Him Go And God’s Little Acre By Erskine Caldwell

1816 words - 7 pages

Chester Himes’ If He Hollers Let Him Go and God’s Little Acre by Erskine Caldwell

It has long been contested that works of great Literature have certain qualities and that they belong to an exclusive canon of works. Value is placed upon them for a number of reasons, including their reflection of cultural or social movements, the special meaning they possess, and even their use of specific narrative elements. Up until recently, scholars and intellectuals would never dream of examining works of lower caliber with any hopes of discovering value or merit. A new movement within intellectual circles, however, has shifted focus onto so-called low-brow novels like Chester Himes’ If He Hollers Let Him Go and God’s Little Acre by Erskine Caldwell. Surprisingly enough, the works of Himes and Caldwell can be held up to the same tests as more canonical works through their appeal to ideological remnants of Romanticism and the Enlightenment, their use of literary devices to create meaning, and the narratives’ use of these devises to enhance the elements of enjoyment and pleasure in reading.

According to the history books, the era of Romanticism and the subsequent Enlightenment have long since past, but their far-reaching effects are still evident in literature written in the 20th century. The importance of human merit and worth rooted in Romantic thought has transcended the bounds of time and manifested itself in the novels of Caldwell and Himes through a preoccupation with what it means to be human. In God’s Little Acre, not only are readers prone to question whether or not the Walden family is subhuman because of their problematic behaviors, but the character of Buck remarks that “God put us in the bodies of animals and tried to make us act like people” (Caldwell 158). References to human value are much more prevalent in Himes’ novel in relation to racial justice and equality. Like the characters in God’s Little Acre, the main character of Bob Jones is reduced to a being that is subhuman, most blatantly when he is told that his alleged rape of a white female worker was comparable to “the act of an animal” (Himes 189). Over and over again, in fact, Bob copes with a profound desire to become wholly human. At one point, he says that he would endure employment at a racist and oppressive shipyard “if [he] could be a man, defined by Webster as a male human being” (Himes 144). Himes’ main character seems almost obsessed with his need to be human, constantly emphasizing that “as long as [he] was black [he’d] never be anything but half a man at best” (153), and that “all [he] ever wanted was just a little thing—just to be a man” (190).

The sense of individualism that arose from the Enlightenment is also evident in Caldwell’s God’s Little Acre. The character especially gripped by individualism pointed out that, “over here in the Valley, I’m Will Thompson…I’m Will Thompson. I’m as strong as God Almighty Himself now, and I can...

Find Another Essay On Chester Himes’ If He Hollers Let Him Go and God’s Little Acre by Erskine Caldwell

Let Go and Live Free Essay

4178 words - 17 pages , along with the deviation of these technologies, without a set-in-stone preemptive diplomatic solution, how can our nation expect to be safe? It makes no sense whatsoever. After all, throughout life we are still learning, hence, if we can learn to create malicious Cyber Attacks, we can learn through positive punishment, that it shouldn't be done in the first place. In sum, then, take back your independence, individuality, and integrity; let go from

Never Let Me Go by Mark Romanek

1578 words - 6 pages The film, Never Let Me Go, by Mark Romanek interrogates a possible alternate history for the world and is a commentary on the human condition. Wrapped within these ideas is the fact that it is also a commentary on the philosophy of science. What Romanek does is propose questions, and after enough pondering by the viewers they eventually realize that the world today could conceivably be like the one in the film. This is because our history is

Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

1201 words - 5 pages that the students were not human, because they could not reproduce, they did not have any parents, and for the slight fact that what the students were going through was morally unacceptable. In my opinion, Ishiguro shows that the clones are indeed human, because of their artwork, which proves that they have creativity, they show emotion and the clones can do human like things. Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro is a novel told from the

Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

2274 words - 9 pages The continuum of society’s inequality towards its citizens has been long perceived. The notion of equality that spurs from within peoples’ hearts will surely lead to disappointment, for humanity’s negativities alter an individuals composition. Society, a mental concept, has not only discriminated against its occupants but instilled alienation as well, which leads to a sense of incompletion. In his novel, Never Let Me Go, Kazuo Ishiguro

Differences and Similarities Between Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro and The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

2393 words - 10 pages voice. I agree with it because the feelings of the protagonist and events she described managed to involve me emotionally and sympathetically. The social aspect in Never Let Me Go is based on the discussion whether clones are human beings. By cleverly building a strong relationship with the reader, I believe the narrator has subtlety managed to cause uneasiness in readers and critics by almost proving that they are also human. Even if some critics

Dystopias Displayed in The Lottery by Jackson and The Pedestrian by Bradbury and Never Let Me Go

1379 words - 6 pages Ray Bradbury. Dystopias are also written to put a satiric view on prevailing trends of society that are extrapolated in a ghoulish denouement, as in the case of the dystopian film Never Let Me Go directed by Mark Romanek. Dystopian texts use a variety of literary devices and filming techniques to convey their message, but in all three texts there is a main protagonist who questions the rules of society, and all citizens carry a fear of the outside

The Quintessence of Humanity in The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood and Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

3013 words - 12 pages The Quintessence of Humanity Often in life, people take their freedoms, a gift that allows them to express their individuality, for granted. However, in the dystopian societies of The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood and Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro, people are reminded of just how easily their freedoms and humanity can be stripped away. Attwood and Ishiguro urge people to never lose sight of the core values that define who they

Clones Are Human: Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

1243 words - 5 pages In “Never Let Me Go” by Kazuo Ishiguro we see cloned human beings that are raised in a boarding school so that they can grow up and become organ donors. The main purpose of these kids was growing up and donating their organs one by one till they finally die at an early age. These kids were not treated as human beings. They were created in a test tube just to be a donor. The main character who was also a donor is the narrator of this story

The Audience's Response to 'Let him have it!' and 'The Daily Mail' in Peter Medak's Film

2923 words - 12 pages Barlow and Parker warehouse in Croydon. I have looked at two media sources of information regarding this event. A newspaper article taken from the Daily Mail 3rd November 1952 and Peter Medak’s film ‘Let him have it!’. Using these sources I intend to illustrate how they manipulate the audience and if they are biased types of media. The headline for the Daily Mail’s article regarding the events of the night 2nd

If I could go back in time and change a

591 words - 2 pages If I could go back in time and change a decision that I had made it would be the time I decided to change schools my senior year. This decision was made because I relocated with my parents to a place that was about an hour ride from my high school. My mother gave me the choose to either travel back and forth every day, or transfer out my senior year. I decided to transfer out because I knew that my mother would be worry about me traveling at

How did Alexander win the loyalty of those he conquered and was this important to him?

1096 words - 4 pages Ammon' was had become widespread since they had first been recognised together, and Alexander's patronage ensured that it would spread further. By portraying himself as the inheritor of this religious tradition, Alexander secured the love of the people, and it also gave him a perceived 'divine favour'. It was a risky pretence, claiming a divinity, and if he had been proved a fake, Alexander would have lost all credibility. It was a risk that the man

Similar Essays

East Geman Border Guard: Let Him Go

2158 words - 9 pages border guards to use deadly force against those committing a felony, life was to be preserved “if possible.” The border guard followed that requirement when he gave multiple warnings before firing at Hans. Hans, however, was acting alone, and it does not seem like he was using “dangerous methods or means,” both requirements for making illegal border crossing a felony. But since some law stemmed from the unwritten rules enforced by the border

How Is God Good If He Allowed For Dantes To Go To Prison?

964 words - 4 pages Dantes went from being a successful young man with a great fortune ahead of him, to an unknown man, stuck in one of the worst prisons of his time. Many people would look at Dantes’ situation and say that God had forsaken him. Even Dantes himself, believed that God had left him to die in the Chateau d’if. However, God used Dantes’ unfortunate situation to teach him important life lessons that he might not have learned otherwise. As Romans 8:28

Forgiveness Allows Us To Let Go Of The Pain In The Memory And If We Let Go Of The Pain In The Memory We Can We Can Have The Memory But It Does Not Control Us. When Memory Controls Us We Are Then...

547 words - 2 pages , eye to eye with that person who emotionally scared you for years to come and say, "I forgive you" because you don't know how that person ask.Forgiveness allows us to let go of the pain in the memory and if we let go of the pain in the memory we can we can have the memory but it does not control us. When memory controls us we are then the puppets of the past.

"Don't Let Me Die" By Lindsay Caldwell

1078 words - 4 pages wearing a red shirt and a red cap, and if she didn't go he was going to go to her house. Tia went with Lucy to check out superguy when they got there they say a guy wearing a red shirt and a red cap, but the thing was that he was different then he described himself in the net, he was old and looked mean. So she just went home. Later the door bell rang and it was him Lucy answered and said that there wasn't any St. Cloud family so he left