American Criticism In Short St Essay

1022 words - 4 pages

American Criticism Nineteen-Fifty-Five by Alice Walker and On the Road by Langston Hughes both use a wide variety of implicit and explicit criticisms of American society within their short stories. Both essays focus on White culture vs. Black individuality. This focus opens the door to implicit criticisms such as racism, hypocrisy and discrimination. These examples are especially prevalent in the story On the Road. Hughes gives an image that focuses on looks and money, instead of feeling and good spirit. There are a few explicit examples, like the fact that people should assume White culture to be the important people over Black culture. This seems to be quite typical in the story Nineteen-Fifty-Five, which gives its focus on surface and traditional law. It gives no thought to the fact that Black culture really is not very different from white culture, besides the physical colour. There is another factor involved with this widespread topic, which is social expectations. In both stories, it is an obvious expectation that the white race should dominate the world society and have nothing to do with black culture. Generally speaking, racial criticism in American society has progressed in many ways. In Langston Hughes' story On the Road, there are quite a few examples of explicit criticism. This will be illustrated with a series of quotes, along with a brief explanation of the meaning or reason for stating that quote. On page 471 in the "Introduction to Literature" book (this book contains the short stories), Sargeant, who is the protagonist of the story, says, "I know it's a white folks" church, but I got to sleep somewhere". Sargeant spoke this line after some white people yelled at him for trying to get into "their" church for a place to sleep. It is discrimination pushed to a maximum when these white people would not even let a harmless black fellow use there church just to sleep in for the evening. It is not like he would cause any damage or ruckus. On page 473 the officer in the prison which Sargeant was taken to hits Sargeant hard on the knuckles and says, "Shut up, you crazy coon." "Coon" was the word that was used to describe people who were black. It was very racist, and is still heard in present day from time to time, considering that this story comes from before the 60's. At the beginning of the story there is a very good example of hypocrisy within the church. Reverend Dorset does not allow Sargeant to enter his house. At this point of the story, Sargeant is very cold (it was snowing) and hungry. Even under these conditions, the REVEREND does not allow Sargeant to have shelter, because he is black. You would think that someone of Reverend Dorset's rank would have a heart that shows sympathy toward anything exposed to such horrid conditions. The signs of Racism, Discrimination, and Hypocrisy of this...

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